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Google Give Tips For Identifying If Your Site Has Been Hacked, And How To Fix It

A post went up on Google’s official Webmaster Central Blog last night from a representative of the Search Quality Team providing tips for how to find out if your site has been hacked, as well as fix it and prevent future incidents.

Since hacking is surprisingly common I felt it was important to pass along this information to SEJ readers. Please take a minute or two to review these tips, even if you don’t think you may be a victim of hacking. No one ever expects their site to get hacked, so it’s good to be prepared in the unfortunate event that it does happen.

Adding spammy pages are the most common way hackers take advantage of vulerable sites, Google says. Hackers add spammy pages to redirect users to undesired or harmful destinations. For example, Google says they have seen a rise in hacked sites redirecting visitors to online shopping sites.

Here are some tips Google provides to help you identify hacked content on your site:

  • Check for for shady looking URLs or directories: You can check for any kind of shady activity on your site by performing a “site:” search of your site in Google, such as [site:example.com]. If there are there any suspicious URLs or directories that you do not recognize, they may have been added by a hacker.
  • Check the Search Queries page in Webmaster Tools for unnatural looking queriesThe Search Queries page shows Google Web Search queries that have returned URLs from your site. Look for unexpected queries as it can be an indication of hacked content on your site.
  • Turn on email forwarding in Webmaster Tools: Google will send you a message if they detect that your site may be compromised. Messages appear in Webmaster Tools’ Message Center but it’s a best practice to also forward these messages to your email.

Here are some tips Google provides for how to fix and prevent hacking:

  • Stay informed The Security Issues section in Webmaster Tools will show you hacked pages detected on your site. Google also provides detailed information to help you fix your hacked site.
  • Protect your site from potential attacks: Prevent attacks by keeping the software that runs your website up-to-date, sign up to get the latest security updates for your website management software, and choose a provider that you can trust to maintain the security of your site.

Google also reminds you can help keep the web safe by reporting sites you believe may have been hacked. If you find suspicious sites in Google search results, you can report them using the Spam Report tool.

 Google Give Tips For Identifying If Your Site Has Been Hacked, And How To Fix It

Matt Southern

Freelance Writer at MattSouthern.com
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert articles he contributes to many well respected publications across the web. Contact him via his website if you'd like him to write for you.
 Google Give Tips For Identifying If Your Site Has Been Hacked, And How To Fix It

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5 thoughts on “Google Give Tips For Identifying If Your Site Has Been Hacked, And How To Fix It

  1. Nice and timely post Matt Southern. Indeed Google webmaster helps a lot to identify any potential threat to a site but I have seen so many websites/blogs being hacked but webmaster is not showing any data regarding that in their Security Issues section. Yes, checking search queries page on WM is new to me or I have not thought in that way. But if you have a huge site then neither search queries page nor the site:domain-name.com will help you much as because it will be a tremendous job to find such queries or pages from WM or SERP. What do you think or say on this?
    We did another thing we have properly registered our client site with AVG Link Scanner and we are getting weekly emails about our sites health about threat/hacking issues.
    This is true that you should keep your web application/software uptodate to mitigate hacking.

  2. Hi Matt Southern,

    This is really wonderful post.I have no idea how to check whether our my website is hacked or not.but with the help of Google webmaster tool we can easily identity the problem.Thanks for sharing such a useful informations.keep posting

    Regards
    rajesharinos

  3. Thanks for sharing this useful information.
    Now i am little bit worry, because earlier i found some unnatural looking queries at search queries page in Webmaster Tools.