Every day Google adds thousands of websites to their blacklist due to malware on the site. Some of these sites were created solely for malicious purposes, however, most are legitimate websites that have been infected without the knowledge of the site’s owners.
What’s worse than a hacked website? Having Google blacklist your site and label it as “infected.”
Having your website listed as infected and blacklisted by Google means that you’re basically off the internet until your website has been fixed. This can damage the reputation and sales of small business owners. It can also be very costly to hire an expert to fix your site. Depending on the extent of the damage, and the size of your website, costs can range from $1,000 to $10,000.
Google is very proactive when it comes to protecting users from malicious content, especially when users found your website via a search. When Google has detected malware, they’ll remove your site from their index and put up a warning notice along the lines of “this site may harm your computer.” The warning message you see will depend on which browser you’re using.
Malware isn’t the only reason they will put up a warning on your site, in one form or another. They’ll also do that if your website does not contain malware, but nonetheless, it’s been hacked and serving up fake goods, or contains hidden spam, or redirecting to malicious sites. In these instances, the warning may read “This site may have been hacked.”
Common Indicators of a Blacklisted Site
- Search engine results say: “Possibly Compromised” or “This site may harm your computer.”
- Your Web Host disabled the site.
- Your website loads an empty page or your homepage is redirecting to another URL.
- A Google search for your website returns ads and/or pages that are not on your site.
- File modifications or core integrity issues. Using a security plugin, such as Wordfence, will alert you to file modifications and other security issues requiring your attention.
- Bandwidth usage suddenly increases.
- Your website no longer appears on Google’s index.
- Big Red Screen has replaced your site.
You can manually check to see if your site has been blacklisted. A simple, but not 100% accurate, way to check is to perform a search with the following parameter: site:yourdomainname.com. By the way, doing this will also show you which of your pages Google has indexed.
There are also online tools you can use, such as bannedcheck.com.
This Google Webmasters video explains why and how websites end up blacklisted.
Regardless of the reason, landing on Google’s blacklist can damage your business reputation, your computer, and the computer of everyone visiting your site. You should begin the process of cleaning up your site as quickly as possible. When you’re done cleaning up your site, you can request a malware review. Google provides step-by-step instructions for Webmaster Tools users on how to request a malware review of a blacklisted site.