How To Determine the Legitimacy of a Website

By Tracey Dowdy

While researching this article, I came across a website that claimed to vet suspicious sites, yet the site itself is actually designed for black hat SEO purposes. That’s confusing. How are users supposed to determine who the good guys are if the bad guys hide in plain sight?

Of course, there are a number of red flags that should immediately make visitors suspicious. Look for misspelled or copycat domain names, (think Amaz0n.com, Reebock.com), or multiple dashes and periods in the URL. Sites that end with .biz or .info are more likely to be unsafe.

To reduce the risk of landing on a phishing or other unsafe website, add these tips to your tool kit.

  • Google it. This is both the simplest and the best safety tip around. A simple Google search will bring up all results related to the search terms entered. User reviews are usually aggregated at the top but be sure reviews and feedback come from contributors not affiliated with the site or paid sponsors.
  • While reading those reviews, pay attention to grammar and the language being used. Be wary of sites with misspellings, poor grammar and syntax or explicit language. Look to see if content is repeated or poorly formatted, for example, the text is cut off or missing.
  • Do a Google Transparency Report. Go to the Transparency Report home page, type in the name of the site and Google will automatically generate a report detailing its safety rating. More than simple data, Google provides context by listing why the site received the rating. For example, Reddit receives a “Not dangerous” rating but warns “Some pages on this website send visitors to the following dangerous websites: github-cloud.s3.amazonaws.coms382701517.online.de, and gildor.org.”
  • Check the security certificate. Search engines like Safari and Google Chrome require sites to use security certificates from trusted organizations. Follow this link for what to look for from Google and here for what to look for on Safari.
  • ADS! ADS! ADS! If you land on a page that is more ad-based than content-based, odds are it’s a scam or phishing site. If ads are explicit or constantly pop-up, the site requires users to complete a survey, provide personal information in order to continue, or re-directs to another page, there is a good chance it may be unsafe.

There are always exceptions to the rules, but by implementing these tools, users can safeguard against attack.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Comments:

  1. What i don’t realize is in truth how you’re now not actually a lot more
    smartly-liked than you may be right now. You are so intelligent.
    You know therefore considerably in terms of this subject, produced me in my opinion believe it from numerous various angles.
    Its like women and men aren’t interested until it is something to do with Woman gaga!

    Your own stuffs excellent. Always handle it up!

  2. Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this website needs a lot more attention.
    I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the information!

  3. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of
    content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful
    lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could
    space it out better?

  4. I have learn several excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how a lot effort you place to make this sort of excellent informative website.

  5. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post
    was good. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  6. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and interesting, and
    without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently
    about. Now i’m very happy I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  7. Just want to say your article is as surprising. The clearness
    in your post is simply great and i could assume
    you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  8. Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to look it over.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this
    to my followers! Excellent blog and terrific design.

  9. We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be precisely
    what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content to suit your
    needs? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on a few
    of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome website!

  10. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog
    with my facebook group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

  11. If some one needs expert view regarding blogging and site-building afterward i advise
    him/her to visit this weblog, Keep up the good work.

  12. I think the admin of this website is really working
    hard in support of his website, because here every stuff is quality based
    material.

  13. My brother recommended I might like this website.
    He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t believe just how a lot time I had
    spent for this information! Thanks!

  14. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of
    my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  15. If you are going for finest contents like I do,
    only visit this site everyday because it provides quality contents, thanks

  16. It’s amazing to go to see this website and reading the views of all colleagues regarding this paragraph, while I am also eager of getting familiarity.

  17. Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your blog in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great blog!

  18. Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return yet again since i have bookmarked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide
    others.

  19. whoah this blog is wonderful i love studying your posts.
    Keep up the good work! You know, a lot of people are hunting around for
    this info, you can aid them greatly.

  20. Hi, I do think this is an excellent site.

    I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back yet again since i have book marked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to
    help others.

  21. I got this web page from my buddy who shared with me
    on the topic of this web page and at the moment
    this time I am visiting this site and reading very informative content at
    this time.

  22. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say
    that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  23. Good day! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I
    could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  24. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get several emails
    with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Thank you!

  25. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of
    your excellent post. Also, I’ve shared your web
    site in my social networks!

  26. Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and
    I was wondering your situation; we have developed some nice methods
    and we are looking to exchange methods with others, be sure to shoot me
    an e-mail if interested.

  27. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having trouble
    locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  28. You could certainly see your skills in the work you write.
    The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to
    mention how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.