Tuesday, 25 September 2012 00:00

Website Hacked? Google Virus Removal

Written by 

    When relying on search engines for your income you will fully appreciate the impact of not being on page 1 of Google. This has an immediate impact on visitor numbers, conversations and ultimately, you sales.

    If your ranking slips for no apparent reason over a period of 3 - 5 days, don't just assume it's the market or there is more competition. Check each listing in Google to ensure it is as it should be.

    There are techniques used by spammers that cloak or redirect your Web Page to display one page to the Googlebot while still directing human users to your page. Googlebot will see something that may sell pills while users see the real web site. Generally, it is an attack on your home page so is quickly and easily identified.

    Need Website Malware Removal Services? Hack Removed from £99.00

    What is the impact?

    Your Rankings will slide of the side of your screen for your home page or the page targeted by spammers. You may notice conversions are down.

    How do you check?

    Go to the google search engine page and type in the following substituting "yourdomain.com" with your actual web site address.  If that does not show you any issues, type one of the following options

    site:www.yourdomain.com Viagra

    site:www.yourdomain.com Pharmaceutical

    site:www.yourdomain.com Cialis Generic

    This will list all your pages stored by Google and you should browse through the results page for anything untoward, usually odd words or titles that are not related to your Business.  If you have used the "Pharmaceutail" or "Cialis Generic", it should show you results instantly on the page.

    Recently www.caremorstairlifts.co.uk was hacked with a non-malware spam virus which didn't affect what the visitor could see. Google and other software didn't pick up the hack because it was producing SPAM to search engines rather than being a malicious piece of software trying to spread and attack other computers. (Malware)

    This hack presented a false Home Page to search engines promoting Viagra and other pharmaceuticals. As you can image, the Home page became irrelevant to the keywords previously associated with it and the rankings plummeted. The home page simply vanished from rankings. Other pages still ranked but given most traffic was directed to the home page, this has an instant and detrimental impact on sales.

    What approach did we take?

    • Record everything we did at the time to fix and remove the hack
    • Take steps to ensure this is prevented in the future
    • Monitor the Web Site
    • Submit a request to Google to reconsider the Web Site

    Why record everything you do?

    All the relevant information you record will be used in your request to Google to reconsider your Web Site.

    Preventive actions

    This demonstrates to Google you know what the issue was, taken action to fix but also taken steps to reduce the risk of this happening in the future.

    Have you

    • Changed your passwords with your Host (FTP access and other logins)
    • Installed software to intercept hack attempts
    • Changed hosts due to poor protection because simple easily cracked passwords have been used to authenticate to your database (Password Examples: password, joomla, wordpress or the name of your business)

    Monitor for 24 – 48 hours

    Once the Web Site is fixed, monitoring is very important especially if the hack as on a database driven Web Site. You don't want this coming back after submitting a request to Google to reconsider the position of the Web Site. Doing that and having the site hacked again, just wastes peoples time and costs you more in lost sales. You need to make sure you have it fixed the first time

    Submit a request to Google to reconsider the Web Site

    Do this once and do it right. Give Google all the information you have in a concise form to help them in their process to reconsider your Web Site. Just saying "I was hacked, it's fixed now. Please reconsider my Web Site" will see your request ignored.

    The amount of business you lose could be worse if you don't take measures to fix it right the first time. Yes, there is an impact in lost revenue but what is the cost of it coming back again and again. More lost revenue I'd say

    Remember, you need to convince Google you've "fixed" it as there are humans on the other end of the request processing your request. It's not an automated process.

    How do I ask Google to reconsider my Web Site?

    Once you have fixed your Web Site, log into your Google Webmaster Tools and go to the Google Web Site Reconsideration form, complete it in full and submit to Google.

    For Caremor Stairlifts, they were back in the rankings within hours but please note it can take some time for your rankings to return, but they will return.

    Read 1156 times Last modified on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 15:11
    Jason Williams

    Jason Williams founded Joint Plan after a successful 17 year career in Corporate IT to return to his roots in small business, where change and improvement has a more significant and positive impact for the small business owner and their employees.