Hacked site? Stop worrying and start working.

by Gary on May 30, 2008 · 2 comments

in General,Rep. Management,SEO,SEO Basics,SEO Tips

If you are worried about the consequences of having your site hacked here are some useful info that should put your mind at ease, knowing that you know what to do in case it happens.

  • Google will delete you from their index but they will restore your URL in their index as soon as they confirm that your site is clean.
  • Google will contact you to inform that your site has been removed from the index and will also give you the reason for removal (i.e. the fact that you’ve been hacked and they don’t want your site to appear in Google’s SERPs till it’s cleaned up).
  • They’ll be nice about it. There’s no doubt about it Matt Cutts is really nice even to poor stressed out webmasters/website owners with hacked sites.

If being removed from the list worries you too much remember to focus on the positive part. Since Google will be contacting you, you can do something about it IMMEDIATELY. Note too that removal from the index is just a temporary thing so don’t sweat it. As Matt Cutts pointed out in his reply to Ryan Stewart, at least your prospective customers (users who click on the link from SERPs) won’t be turned off when they appear on a hacked page. Temporary removal would result in immediate loss/decrease of traffic but being retained in SERPs may result in long term loss of customers since word of your “insecure or low quality site” might get out. Remember SEO is not just about ranking well in SERPs but is also about reputation building so look at the bright side, stop worrying, and work on your site’s security. If you’ve been hacked then clean up your site at once…even before Google detects the problem and you receive notification that your site has been removed from the index.

According to Google Webmaster Central if your site has been hacked you should immediately:

  1. get your site offline
  2. assess the damage
  3. re-install the OS and make sure you install all the latest patches for software you news
  4. restore your site
  5. change ALL your passwords
  6. get the site back online

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Jon Web June 22, 2008 at 8:27 pm

I recently experienced a wordpress blog hack. The robots.txt was stuffed with viagra links and hidden links were placed in the footer include.

The difference in this case was the site did not recieve an outright ban. It was still in G’s index for a url search. Therefore the website owner recieved no notification from G. The site did not rank for any search terms, even page titles + the domain name.
The owner rectified the problems quickly. He did have webmater tools and although the site was not banned he filed for a reinclusion. Given that the site wasnt banned there was no response. It took 12 weeks for the site to appear again and it still does not rank anywhere near as well as it was before the hack (which was now 18 weeks ago!).
From what your saying Gary- I think an outright ban from the index would have been better!?

martha November 21, 2008 at 10:55 am

That’s true that when removes a site from its index it;s alexa rank as well as PR decreases.
These are seriously vulnerable field you can’t get back your previous rank and the PR.
I’m happy that google does contact to the website owner regarding the hacking of the site.

These are really nice tips to checking the site before google does..

Thanks for sharing