DIGITAL AGILITY BLOG:

So many reasons you don’t want to have your website hacked…now , SEO is another.

Jennifer Frye
So many reasons you don’t want to have your website hacked…now , SEO is another.

Often times, we will hear from clients that they are not worried about having their site hacked because there isn’t any credit card information collected. Hacking sites is no longer a concern for online stores only. It is a concern for EVERYONE with a website. There are many reasons why having your site hacked can be a nightmare. One of these reasons is being hacked can negatively affect your SEO, most people don’t think about this or realize when it happens. But when it does...look out.

When your site is hacked a search engine can pick up on it just by crawling your site. The hack ("hacked spam") may be something seemingly less malicious like adding some pharmaceutical adds to the middle of some of your content, or it could it could be as installing malicious programs on you or your users computer. While a search engine is crawling your site and they find a piece of content like this they will, more than likely, add you to a blacklist.

What does that mean? Well, it means that you are going to loose your search engine rank which you, or your marketing team, have worked endlessly to raise and maintain. This can take weeks or even months to re-attain. It also means that software such as internet browsers and anti-virus programs may keep people from visiting your site all together. This is great for protecting the end user, but it means bad news for the site owner. When your site is blacklisted not only do people get steered away from your site, but since Google sees it as malicious, you get negative ranking. One day your site is number one in the search results, then BOOM you get hacked and now you aren't even on the first page! Or even the fifth page.

Google is looking to weed out sites from search results that they consider to be a threat to the end user, meaning the site contains "hacked spam." When Google crawls your site and finds some of this spam, it is likely that your site will end up on one or all of a slew of blacklists, including Google.

What is a "blacklist"?
In this context, a blacklist is a list of sites that one or more blacklist-authorities have deemed dangerous due to the site containing one form or another of malicious content. These lists are used by search engines, anti-virus programs, browsers and other software to help keep users safe by warning them that they are about to visit a potentially dangerous site OR keep you from seeing it at all.

What is "hacked spam"?
Hacking as a general term, in relation to security, is the same. Someone breaks into a site or server that they are not supposed to be in. There are lots of different things that a hacker can do once they gain access to your site or server, and the full explanation of these things is a post for another day. We will just talk about spam hacking specifically. The spam in this sense is not all that different than the email spam you are used to seeing. It is annoying junk that no one asked for. In this case, though, the spam is coming to you directly from a website you are visiting. The spam could be just some text advertising low cost Viagra somewhere on the site where it doesn't make sense to normally see spam advertisements. It could also be much more dangerous like a malware download or linking off to a completely different site with equally dangerous junk on it.

Just one more reason that it is important to keep your website up to date and perform regular maintenance and security checks.

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Marketing & PR, Search Engine Optimization (SEO/SEM), Website Development & Mobile Responsive, Security & Privacy

 

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