As soon as you launch a new site, you should register it at Google Webmasters. This is a free service where you can submit a site map, discover which keywords visitors are using to find the site, check to see if Google finds any problems with your site and more. This week, I received the following message for one of the sites I manage:
Joomla Update Available
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://DOMAIN-NAME-HIDDEN/,
As of the last crawl of your website, you appear to be running Joomla 1.7. Google recommends that you update to the latest release. Older or unpatched software may be vulnerable to hacking or malware that can hurt your users. To download the latest release, visit the Joomla download page. If you have already updated to the latest version of Joomla, please disregard this message.
If you have any additional questions about why you are receiving this message, Google has provided more background information in a blog post about this subject.
Google Search Quality Team
I have removed the domain name in the above message but the original warning did tell me which site was affected.
This is interesting:
- How did they know the site was running Joomla? This particular site has Administrator hidden and the generator tag that displays Joomla is not present. There are plenty of other ways to check if a site is running Joomla, but I would love to know what method Google is using.
- They got the version wrong. The site is actually running Joomla 1.5.
- If Google is actively crawling sites to determine old versions of Joomla, it is likely that hackers are too. This highlights the need to keep your version current and to take security seriously.
According to a discussion I have read about Joomla 3.0 (which is scheduled for release in September this year) a new "feature" will be introduced that includes the version number in the generator tag. This has been included to make it easier for Google Webmasters to determine which version of Joomla is being used, and report accordingly. There will be an option to remove the version number from the generator tag, however most people wishing to hide this will most likely want to remove the generator tag altogether.
Have you received one of these notices from Google Webmasters? Do you think it is a good idea to display the version number in the page code? Leave your thoughts below.