What should I do if my site is hacked?
As we witnessed last week, Deals Direct’s website was blocked by Google after a rogue piece of code hidden inside a third-party’s advertisement infected the site.
When you perform keyword research on the phrase ‘How to hack a website’ there are about 27,000 searches a month on that term at Google. Sadly, there over 38 Million results in the Google index.
For whatever reason, there are lots of wannbe hackers out there trying to exploit any website vulnerability they can find.
More recently there’s a site which currently ranks 2nd in the Australian Google results for the search term “roadside assistance” which, by all appearances, has been hacked and now blocked by Google. I don’t think they’re the Lone Ranger’s with this problem either.
If you click the result, you’ll see the following message:
That’s not so good.
But look, it can happen to the biggest and best sites online. So bookmark this page just in case it ever happens to you through no fault of your own.
Google’s got quite a lot of information about solving these sorts of problems which you can find here.
Basically the process involves creating a Google Webmaster Tools account (if you don’t already have one set up) which will enable you to communicate with Google representatives and alert them to fact you’re working on the problem or/or have solved it.
But I think it’s there more to it that.
You have a small amount of breathing space before the site is removed from Google completely, so use it wisely.
So, before you do anything Google recommends, stop any financial bleeding.
Most of us in business have some form of online advertising activity, whether it’s PPC through Google AdWords, Facebook Ad’s, Yahoo Search Marketing or through Media buy’s (banner advertising). So pull all this activity pronto.
It’s funny that Google doesn’t recommend this important step. But then again, why would they? It’d cost them money wouldn’t it. And shareholders don’t like that.
For you it’s critical to stop the problem being more financially disastrous than it already is, so follow these steps:
- Stop all advertising immediately.
- If you operate an affiliate program, tell your affiliates you have a problem and you’re working to resolve it. This is important to keep your affiliate relations open, honest and transparent. If you don’t let them know, they’ll probably find out anyway as visitors from their site to yours will likely contact them to let them know they’re delivering traffic to a malware infected site.
- Yes, your affiliates will have to mess around pulling their links down, but hopefully they’ll appreciate you being proactive. They’ll also appreciate that you’re concerned about their reputation. Sending traffic to a malware site is not a good look and will also protect your reputation.
- Once you’ve everything under control from a ‘financials’ perspective, the next step is to follow the instructions Google provides and resolve the problem as quickly as possible at your end.
- Concurrently while you’re doing all this, create a Google Alert so you can monitor and respond to any blog/forum/twitter/facebook discussions about your business and its current situation.
- Once the problem has been resolved and Google’s removed the search result warning, remember to activate all advertising and hope like hell you never find yourself in a mess like this ever again.
No related posts.