The top-ranking HTML editor on Google is an SEO scam

Last modified on June 08, 2021

Here is the parable of how I by accident got here throughout what seems to be a colossal on-line web page positioning scam.


Some highly-ranked on-line instruments for bettering or “cleaning” HTML appear to be secretly injecting hyperlinks into their output to push themselves and
affiliated websites up the hunt engine rankings. This scam might maybe maybe be very profitable and appears to have religion lengthy gone undetected to this stage.

Tools which appear to be doing this are all made by the similar folks:

  • html5-editor.derive
  • … and others

Web websites which have religion fallen sufferer to this embody BoingBoing, the efficient German Soccer Affiliation and Kaspersky. The fairly irony right here is that the affected Kaspersky article is about “staying efficient from hackers”.

Discovering one factor fishy

So right here’s a blow-by-blow delusion of how I made this discovery, alongside with the proof I uncovered.

It all began with a thriller touching on a product that I’m setting up. The product is an on-line scoreboard, and no matter having (what I really feel) is a secure on-line web page positioning method, I in reality had been unable to beat that coveted prime house within the quest engine outcomes web page. For the final 12 months, a competitor often called “Scorecounter” has frequently been ahead of me.


Now, because of the character of my product, folks are sharing hyperlinks to it and embedding it of their web sites, that means that over time I'm gathering a choice of attend hyperlinks. Over time my on-line web page positioning score might maybe maybe restful was unbeatable. The competitor would now not have religion a significant virality love me, but is repeatedly higher at me than on-line web page positioning. What trick are they the advise of? 🤔

So final evening I drank 2 glasses of purple wine and in its place of deleting the manufacturing database (love final time) I apparent to fetch to the bottom of it. I paid for an Ahrefs subscription and had a behold on the “a technique hyperlink profile” of Scorecounter. Here is what I got here throughout:

Scorecounter had 3600 incoming hyperlinks which it had accrued in a really speedy time. Impressive!


Then I started to note on the pages that contained the hyperlinks and that is the place I grew suspicious.

Shall we inform, I noticed a weblog put up from the German Soccer Affiliation containing a hyperlink to Scorecounter. The word that was linked was “score” – but having a hyperlink right here made completely no sense within the context of the article. What was going on? 🤔

Listed under are some extra examples of hyperlinks I got here throughout on random domains (it's important to peruse “score” on the web page).

  • Macworld Shop
  • Intuit Quickbooks
  • NBC Washington
  • RICE University

There are pages and pages of those (make use of a behold on your self at the same time as you happen to've gotten an Ahrefs delusion).

So I wrote some emails to a 1-2 of those websites and requested them why they'd these hyperlinks of their pages. Had been all of those websites promoting hyperlinks?

I purchased the subsequent reply from an on-line information portal:

Thanks for reaching out. No, we attain now not promote hyperlinks at any hint.

I was in reality the advise of an HTML cleaner ( since final 12 months, which was working superb as supposed within the preliminary months however a few weeks attend I realised that the instrument has swiftly began secretly injecting hyperlinks to the HTML ship.

For a few posts, I was now not able to house it, however after I learnt about it, no matter put up I might maybe maybe maybe have religion purchase, have been cleaned manually. It seems, sadly, a few of them are restful there, as you recognized. I'll nowadays merely win-replace this hyperlink from the whole database for safer facet.

Bingo 💡

Aha! So as that was what was the necessary factor: The creators of Scorecounter additionally made an on-line HTML editor which injects hyperlinks for apparent key phrases. The splendid factor about this scam is that by injecting hyperlinks to their have religion HTML editor, they've religion bought created a elegant apparent options loop: the higher it rises within the quest rankings, the extra folks advise it and the extra secret hyperlinks they might be capable to inject.

Now at the same time as you happen to are feeling very magnanimous, you might maybe maybe maybe maybe argue that the editor is a freemium instrument, and that added hyperlinks are the way you pay for the free model. Neatly, I’m now not feeling magnanimous and neither will Google, I think.

Apart from boosting the HTML Editor itself and Scorecounter, I got here throughout a 3rd product that was participating within the limelight:

Rubik’s dice is made by the similar folks and is all regarding the noteworthy puzzle dice. All over once more it’s very straightforward to win a substantial quantity of attend-links to on random websites the advise of Every of those is a non-sequitur within the textual content into which it’s jammed, which exhibits me that the authors of those articles had no thought what was going on. Assemble a behold (it's important to peruse “Rubiks” on the web page):

  • a bit of writing about Intercourse and the City
  • a BoingBoing article
  • and my inside most accepted: a weblog put up on

UPDATE: Kaspersky has eradicated the hyperlink (props for the speedy response), however of route I purchased a screenshot


To hint how prevalent this injection is, set that Google search; “Peek methods to resolve a Rubix Cube with the newbie methodology”

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