Being the victim of a Google blacklisting is a disaster for your company:
- Prospective clients will be confronted with a security warning
- Your reputation and credibility will take a huge hit
- Daily viewer numbers will drop off immediately
- Your long-term search engine rankings can be affected
In today’s article, we’ll explain how to stay off a blacklist, and what to do if you find yourself on one. We’ll also run through why all websites should consider some form of blacklist monitoring service.
Why Websites Get Blacklisted
Google (and other search engines) use blacklists most often to protect the public from hacked sites. If they notice malware or viruses, they’ll act quickly to remove you from search indices and mark your website as unsafe.
They can also penalise a site for dubious practices such as:
- External links to spam sites, or obvious paid links
- Blackhat SEO practices like keyword stuffing or masking
- Unwelcome content – pornographic, plagiarised, illegal
- Automatic redirects
If you’ve been blacklisted, you might not notice straight away. In fact, you might not notice until you do your weekly or monthly analytics sweep and see that your web traffic has dropped off a cliff.
There are warning signs, however. If you see any of the following, you should consider the possibility that your site has been hacked and is likely to be blacklisted shortly:
- Warning messages when you visit the site
- Unfamiliar popups or strange ads appearing
- Your website automatically redirects to a different address
- When you Google your company name it doesn’t appear on the results page
How To Stay Off a Google Blacklisting
It’s obviously far better to stay off a blacklist than to worry about fixing the problem afterwards.
The first step is to ensure that your website security is first rate. You can try to do this yourself via manual firewalls and plugins. But for real peace of mind (and far less hassle!) consider a managed web security service like CyberAlpha.
Next, make sure that your content and SEO strategy is fully compliant with Google’s best practices. No over-optimisation, no paid links and no blackhat SEO!
Finally, make sure you observe simple digital hygiene:
- Set strong passwords
- Change passwords frequently
- Secure your .php and .htaccess files
- Keep all themes, plugins, contact forms and PHP up to date
How Blacklist Monitoring Can Help
Once your website finds its way onto a blacklist, it’s essential that you move as quickly as possible to identify the cause and repair the damage.
Unfortunately, without dedicated software, it’s not always immediately obvious. Google won’t send you an email to let you know you’ve been flagged.
This is where our blacklist monitoring service comes in. We constantly monitor the most important blacklists (including Google and Bing) and alert you immediately. You’ll be able to take the necessary steps to get off the blacklist and get back up and running.
Google has a page giving advice if your website has been hacked, but our team of cyber security experts can also help you get off the blacklist once the alert has been raised.
If you’d like to discuss how blacklist monitoring can you give peace of mind, please get in touch.