Most website owners only start to think about security after their site gets hacked or infected.
Getting blacklisted due to a security threat can be disastrous for your website and your business. Aside from the humiliation and loss of trust from your visitors, your web traffic will also plummet and your search engine rankings will be on hiatus. Quite often, website owners are unaware that their site has even been hacked – and by the time they find out, it’s too late.
The “malicious content” that was placed on your site will flag search engines that will blacklist your website because they see you as a threat to your visitors. Google alone blacklists over 10,000 websites every day. Bing, McAfee, and Norton also have their own blacklist protocols. If Google detects malware on your site and you get blacklisted as a result, visitors to your site will see a warning saying:
Warning: Visiting this site may harm your computer! The website at www.example.com contains elements from the site www.forinstance.com, which appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that contains malware can infect your computer.
The first thing you want to do is verify that your site has indeed been blacklisted. You can do a lookup on any of these websites:
You will then want to scan your site for malware using your anti-virus software, or other malware detecting program. Once you’ve identified the malware, remove it. If you are using WordPress or a similar content management system, update it to the latest version immediately. It’s also advisable to remove all plugins and themes and reinstall them. Next, change all your admin passwords. You can also request that Google review your site – but only after you have resolved the security issues.
Once they’re resolved, it’s time to redeem yourself! Log in to the Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools), add your site to the Google Search Console and then follow all the instructions to verify your site. After you’ve done all this, click on “request review” in the security section to get it re-verified by Google. This process is not immediate and may take up to a week before you are clear and no longer blacklisted.