Blackhat Google PSI Update Delivers Nuttin’. As in “period.” Period. Shopify Stores Have a Bad Surprise Coming

Google PageSpeed Index (PSI) scores are becoming a crucial part of an e-commerce site build. Unfortunately, it is a pretty large undertaking to do this correctly and make the user experience actually better for your users.

As with many challenges in life, some developers have found "quick fixes" that can get you an amazing Google PSI score, without all the actual hard work and updates. On the surface, that sounds great! You can get a quick fix that gives you a better score, which in turn may help your SEO.

Some ideas have drifted into a realm which we dub, “blackhat” or “malicious compliance.” These solutions look simple and do exactly what they set out to accomplish – great PSI scores!

Let's look at a recent example:


What is going on?

The author of this codebase did something pretty clever, they encrypted the object in their code that checks if the User-Agent (think browser HELLO MY NAME IS tag) is Google's Page Speed Scanner. If it is, the script just clears out the entire site and prints out a period. To Google, this page has just a little period in it and gets a 90+ PageSpeed Index score!

The Problem?

There is always a downside to these "hacks.” The downside here is simple, Google uses the same User-Agent string now to handle their Ad Scans. So now, your Google Ads account is getting scanned and seeing a period. To Google, your store or site is completely broken and they will just delist your whole Ads account. Spell it with us, we are S C R E W E D. Period!

The Fix

To fix, we need to rolback the codebase back to before this code was inserted. Typically there are additional hacks that cause even more issues with this code in your theme. Please connect with a trusted developer to get this problem sorted out and your Ad account relisted.

Like the saying goes, TANSTAAFL -- “There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.”