Those who get a Google Webmaster penalty email saying that their website has been penalized due to black hat activities are usually not surprised. They knew what they were doing. It’s their website. But if your site has been hacked and Google penalizes you for it, then you probably are quite innocent. And probably quite shocked, you’d also most likely, be very pissed. People who click on your website from the search results will be getting a “this site might be hacked” warning. Thus, your traffic is going to suffer. But don’t worry; there is still a way to fix your site from this Google penalty.
This is the message you will receive if your site has been penalized due to being hacked:
“Some pages on this site may have been hacked by a third party to display spammy content or links. Website owners should take immediate action to clean their sites and fix any security vulnerabilities.”
How to Fix your Hacked Site
It is not going to be easy to fix because the hacker will hide their tracks and tricks. If you have some considerable skill, you can try to troubleshoot things yourself by purging the malware from your site.
These things are difficult though, as hackers are skillful at hiding their malware. After all, malware will only work if they are not detected. So if you can’t do it by yourself, your best bet is to get help from a security expert. A good one should be able to fix your site issues as well as upgrade your security against future attacks.
Google recommends the following steps:
1. Get in touch with your site host
2. Get a support team – Unless you can do it all on your own
3. Quarantine the website – This step will require some knowhow
4. Make sure you are registered with Webmaster Tools – This will help you find the damage. You can use several ways, at this point, to pull up your site according to how Google sees it.
5. Find out the damage of your site – This one requires expert knowledge. Finding the problem, as we talked about, can be hard. Knowing whether it is spam or malware is one of the first steps.
6. Identify the weak point in your site – Find the hole that the hacker used and plug it up against more attacks.
7. Purge the malware/spam from your site
8. Request for a review from Google – Once you’ve done your part, you can ask Google for a review once again in order to remove the penalty.
Keep in mind:
To stop this from happening again, always make sure all software and security measures are updated. Also, don’t use a plug-in or any software that you don’t recognize. Research everything first.
Once you’ve done your part, Google is sure to give you back your former SERPs position. It won’t take too much time. Re-inclusion of hacked sites is a bit less difficult compared to other types of Google penalties.