Why is a mortgage site Google? Hijjack or mistake?

Mon 7 September 2009 13:19, Bas van den Beld

Why is a mortgage site Google? Hijjack or mistake?

An interesting find today by a Dutch SEO company. Apparently if you search for "Google Germany" or "Google France" in any given language in Europe there is a result which seems to be Google itself, but isn't. But then again is.

The result which is returned which seems to point to a website "Ghlplc.co.uk". When clicking on the specific link however you will be redirected to Google UK. It looks like a hijjacking, or is it just a wrong re-direct?

The website Ghlplc.co.uk is owned by the GHL Group, a UK mortgage and loan company. The company has no use of getting ranked this high on these terms and not getting clicks, so its worth looking into.

It is strange that such a result pops up in the Google SERPS (which have been quite strange lately anyway). Looking at it with the "standard SEO" point of view it makes no sense because the site is not optimised to rank for these kind of terms, but it looks like we shouldn't look at it this way.

So we did some more research.

Looking in the Google index it shows that the site has been indexed for loads of languages, but all Google pages. That would mean they will not only rank for Google Germany and France but also for other languages.
When you go to the url http://www.ghlplc.co.uk/ you will be redirected to Google. A DNS traceroute  also sends you to Google, all the way back to Mountainview to be exact. That could point to an intentional redirect. By Google itself maybe? Or has GHP made a mistake?

The answer might also be very simple: it could be a wrong www-redirect. After all, when you type in http://ghlplc.co.uk/ you are being redirected to the site of the mortgage holders. Or it could just be proxy-related.

A DNS - traceroute might give us the answer. As said, the site with www sends us to the US. Without the www we are getting a Birmingham UK hosting company.
So what's going on? It looks like a hijjacking, but, a hijjacking by Google...? It doesn't make sense for Google to do that, as it doesn't make sense for the GHL Group to be ranking on this. They won't get any traffic out of it. So what is this? So far we haven't figured it out yet, but somewhere something has gone wrong...

Jon Myers calls it "Index Highjacking", what would you call it?

  • Comments (7)
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Comments (7)


  • Its simply a domain parking - the domain has been parked on top of google.com - which mimics the site and steals its strength - not hard to pull off.

    Ma 7 sep 2009, 13:52

  • Thanks for reposting and translating ;)

    It might not be hard to pull off, but the fact that this is happening to Google and the fact that Google has no functioning filters to prevent this is pretty significant IMHO.

    Cheers! Jeroen

    Ma 7 sep 2009, 14:07

  • Hi Jeroen, it wasn't translated by all means, looked into it after I saw your post. So translation is far from true. Too bad you made that comment.

    It is however an interesting find, kudos to you for that.

    Ma 7 sep 2009, 14:12

  • No worries, wasn't meant as an insult ;) (the web never shows your face and your real intentions) No Biggy and thanks for the reference.

    Ma 7 sep 2009, 14:22

  • Hi,

    strange is that Google has indexed more than 800 pages on that nonGoogle domain. The warn every one to not duplicate and here the bot has indexed (again) his own site :)

    Ma 7 sep 2009, 14:49

  • I guess I found it...

    Google responce to his IP address:

    and the www sub domain has this A record
    ; <<>> DiG 9.5.1-P2 <<>> www.ghlplc.co.uk a
    ;; global options: printcmd
    ;; Got answer:
    ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 26385
    ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

    ;www.ghlplc.co.uk. IN A

    www.ghlplc.co.uk. 280 IN A

    Ma 7 sep 2009, 14:53

    • hao love


    Ma 21 sep 2015, 16:27


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