You can spend hours on search engine optimization to get your site at the top of the search engines, but one hack can get you dropped like a bad habit.
Google’s been cracking down on hacked sites in their search pages, eliminating almost 80 percent of compromised sites in the past year or so, according to Google. Google considers this and other types of phony or misleading websites as spam and Google wants it gone.
How Can You Combat Getting Hacked?
The best way to stay in Google’s good graces is to not get hacked in the first place. Too many web masters, especially small sites that don’t have a staff member dedicated to their website, are lackadaisical on security because they’re either not aware of it or don’t think it could happen to them. The reality is hackers search out these small sites specifically for that reason.
Your first step is having a password for your site that is strong with random letters, numbers and symbols. Hackers have programs and other ways of deducing easy passwords and getting access to your site.
It’s also important to update your site’s plugins and software as soon as possible. Updates often happen because someone discovered a security loophole. By waiting on the update, you’re inviting hackers to utilize the security hole to gain access to your site.
There are programs and plugins designed to help keep your site secure depending on your hosting provider and platform. Investing in these solutions is an easy way to add more protection, but make sure it works and has good reviews before spending any money.
I’ve Been Hacked, Now What?
A hack can come in many ways from hidden links that direct people to unsavory sites to your blog page inundated with blogs you never wrote, or even viruses and more all designed to make your life a living hell and make the hackers money. You may not even know you’ve been hacked until someone sends you an email saying your site sent them to a porn site, and they’re not too happy about it.
Once you’ve been hacked, your first and main priority is getting it fixed as soon as possible. Google may not pick up on it right away, and you can avoid everything by quick action. If you delay or if you’re unaware of the hack, then Google will find out and let you know.
The first step will be a message on Google Search Console and an email to the address registered for search console. It basically says there’s something wonky, fix it or you’ll get dropped. If you don’t do anything or don’t do it fast enough, you’re site gets booted. This is another reason why it’s important to always have an Analytics and Search Console account for your site.
Even if you do fix it, you have to let Google know and they’ll do a review to make sure the problem is solved. In the meantime, you’re not getting indexed and your business will suffer.
How Do I Fix My Hacked Website?
Hackers are sneaky and fixing your site isn’t as easy as you think. You can contact your hosting company and try to work with them to get it fixed, but we recommend having a developer look over your site and make sure it’s scrubbed clean.
Google will not let your site back onto the index until they feel it’s safe for searchers. Don’t ask for a review if it’s not fixed because Google won’t approve it.
If you’re website has been hacked and Google is about to take action or if you’re worried and want to make sure you don’t get hacked, give us a call or email, and we can help you. We can assist you in ramping up your security or get you setup on a maintenance plan if you don’t have time to do your own updates. Also, if you’d like to learn more about cyber security, search our blog for some great articles and videos like this one – Introduction to Cyber Security.