How to recover website SEO after a hack?

Was your website hacked? I am sure you acted upon it immediately. You removed the infected files, secured all backdoors, updated your CMS and plug-ins and now your website is back online to steal the show. But, wait! All is not what it used to be. The traffic has reduced and something feels different. This is the aftermath of the “hacking disaster”. The effects of the attack on your search engine optimization (SEO) are rising to the surface. Read on to find out how to recover website SEO after a hack.

How does a hack affect your website SEO?

Websites can be hacked in many ways – most customers don’t even realize that they have been attacked until someone or some service tells them. Google not only finds hacked websites but also notifies the website master about the malware, provided they have set up a Google Search Console (previously known as Webmaster’s Tool).

According to a survey, less than 50% of hacked websites were flagged by Google. This means we can’t really depend on Google to tell us which websites are safe to visit. But for website owners, this is good news. If they act quickly, they can clean the malware before Google flags them.

If Google finds malicious code on your website, it will flag your website and restrict site traffic until it is fixed. And, if you are set up with Google Search Console, you will be notified about it. Restricted traffic affects your SEO ranking. The longer you wait to fix it, the tougher the SEO recovery.

This strongly highlights the importance of malware scanners like Astra that provide all-round protection to your website and remedies malware before it damages your reputation.

Check out: Detailed guide on Website Malware Attack

How to recover website SEO after a hack?

An attack leaves your website SEO in tatters and taints your business reputation. The biggest and toughest task is to recover website SEO after a hack.

Check website for Malware

Run a malware scan to make sure that the site is free from any malware or content that the hackers might have left behind. Remove all infected files and patch all backdoors. The key is to swiftly remove all malicious content. The longer it takes to clean the website, the lower your website SEO plummets.

Check out: How to scan a website for malware?

Set up Redirects

Set up 301 redirects for any temporary pages that the hacker might have created. The redirects could point to a blog post or notice that informs the visitors that they’ve visited a compromised URL. This improves the user experience without losing indexed pages.

Related Article: How spam links affect your website SEO?

SEO Damage Assessment

Google’s safe browsing list lets the user check URLs against Google’s constantly updated lists of unsafe web resources. Google classifies affected websites into two categories:

  • Attack sites: Websites hosting software that is capable of affecting the visitor’s computer
  • Compromised sites: Websites that have been hacked. Or, websites that host spam content added by the attacker.

https://transparencyreport.google.com/safe-browsing/search?url=www.example.com

Go to the above link and remove example.com with your domain name

Webmaster Tool
Google Search Console

Check Google Search Console

Sign into Google Search Console and check “Messages” on the left side panel. You will receive a message if your website is infected. Malware, if detected, will be listed under “Security Issues”.

Security issues
Search Console messages

Google will also drop a mail on the email address (like ‘admin@’, ‘webmaster@’ and ‘support@’ yoursite dot com.) that it finds on the site.

Request Malware Review

Before the website goes online, request a Google malware review. This review will ensure all the security issues are addressed before the site is reinstated. The review will not take long. If your website is free from infections, it will regain its SEO status within 24 hours after completion of the review.

Go to Google Search Console, then open the “Security Issues” report section and then request a review.

Google Malware Review
Malware Review Request

Join Astra’s Community Security Program

With Astra’s Community Security Program, you give white-hat hackers a safe and secure way to report any vulnerability that they find on your website. You may not be adept at validating the vulnerability, so the experts at Astra do that for you. First, the security experts verify all the vulnerabilities that are reported, and then only the valid ones are sent to you. This will increase your website’s security by crowd-sourcing it.

Check out: How to join Astra’s Community Security Program

Conclusion

Keep in mind that hackers- white hat as well as a black hat- look out for small loopholes that website owners might consider to be insignificant. No vulnerability is insignificant when it comes to owning a website. Always stay on top of your game by taking all the security and corrective measures advised by our experts.

Protect your site against malicious actors and regularly monitor your site for impending malware? Drop us a message here and get in touch with Astra to avail our Web Security Services.

Waiting to Get Hacked?

Get security tips & latest vulnerability fixes right in your inbox:

About The Author

Mahima Maheshwari

She is an Embedded Systems Engineer and a cybersecurity enthusiast. She spends most of her free time researching & reading. And loves to spread knowledge through blogs.

1 Comment

  1. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing the information and keep up the good work. In fact, I hired website development services to solve my problems using this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close