One of the useful features of Google Search Console (GSC) (but one which we hope you never see) is hacked spam alerts. These are notifications Google gives if your site has been hacked by spammers and compromised with malicious code.
This code may be malware that infects the computers of visitors to your website; steals passwords and credit card details, or hijacks visitors and redirects them to other websites (more often than not porn sites).
Not a good look for you, your website visitors…or Google if the search engine referred them.
Innocent sites being hacked by spammers is a growing problem. Google reports an 180% increase in spam hacked sites compared to the previous year.
This growth is probably the reason Google is going to start including these notifications in Google Analytics, as well as in GSC. Many more websites use Google Analytics than GSC so warnings are more likely to be seen by webmasters.
If Google detects that a website has been compromised it not only warns you, it also warns away your site visitors with a “This site may be hacked” message.
Yikes! That will scare away most people and your website traffic will plummet like the UK Pound after the Brexit referendum.
Fortunately, Google also provides you with advice on how this can be fixed.
We sincerely hope you never have the misfortune of falling victim to spam hackers.
One way to reduce the risk is to ensure you are vigilant in updating your website software and plugins, especially if you have a WordPress site (1 in 4 of all websites worldwide are built using WordPress). It’s easy to do and more often than not the updates are to plug security holes that spam hackers can exploit.
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Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting. Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations. Outside of work, his interests beyond his family are running, snowsports, diving and fishing (badly).