It could be bad news for your business if Google believes your website has been hacked – Google will alert visitors to your site with an alarming warning in the search results, ultimately steering potential business away from your website and onto someone else’s.
How do I know if my website has been hacked?
Check that your site really has been hacked – Google the name of your business and if Google responds with ‘This site may be hacked’ below your website in the search results, you will need to tell Google that the site is clean so that the message can be removed.
How can I fix this?
Step 1. Connect to the website by FTP. Never add plugins or update your website if you are not connected by FTP.
Step 2. Verify the site and add to Google’s Search Console. Upload a verification file by FTP to the host server – when the site has been verified you will receive notifications directly from Google about any problems there may be with your website, for example notices that indicate your website has been hacked. Google’s Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) is a free service which allows you to submit a sitemap to notify Google to crawl your website. Use Search Console to check the Security Issues to see information relating to sample URLs that may have been hacked.
Step 3. Check for updates. Login to WordPress then check to ensure regular back-ups have been made before updating your WordPress website, including plugins, themes, and WordPress core files (if there are any to be made). If you are using the Yoast SEO Plugin you will be able to view errors in your WordPress install whenever Google finds them. To be certain there are no more problems, run a Malware Scan.
Step 4. Notify Google that any problems are now history. In Google Console, use the ‘fetch as Google’ tool to let Google know that the hacked content has been extracted, then ask for a review. When Google establishes that your WordPress website is repaired, the label stating ‘This site may be hacked’ will be removed – although this may not happen straight away, so be patient!
How can I avoid this happening in the future?
Keep your WordPress website constantly updated. If you don’t have time or the inclination, we can help! Contact us to find out how we can keep your WordPress website up to date with regular scans and back-ups so you don’t have to.