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3 key steps to avoid being blacklisted

Guide
by Sean Thornley Agency Partnership Manager

Is your website being blacklisted?

There are a few reasons why you might find your website is being blacklisted by Google. This typically results in warning signs that profoundly use the colour red and say something like, “website ahead contains malware”, “this site may be hacked”, “suspected phishing site”. For a customer viewing your website, it is usually followed up with a link that says “click here to return back to safety”.

It’s not every day we face these problems, but with the digital industry growing and businesses depending on online trading, being blacklisted is probably the worst thing that can happen. With a staggering 10,000 websites currently being blacklisted on Google daily, it would be wise to be cautious and follow steps to avoid blacklisting.

It can be daunting to come to work and find your website has been blacklisted particularly when you consider any potential custom you may have lost as a result. However, your top priority should be removing the infected data as soon as possible. Google is the number one browsing server and all other authorities use Google’s API to add to their blacklist. If you’re blacklisted on Google, it’s only a matter of time before you are blacklisted on all other servers.

How to deal with blacklist symptoms.

You will come across a Google diagnostic page that will help you find what pages are infected on your website, the reason why its damaging data and how to get rid of it. These are usually links on the warning pages themselves and are only visible to the website owner. Alternatively, there are tools available online that scan your website for malicious pages, These generally give you a better insight on what your issue is in the first instance so you can remove it quicker.

In order to fix blacklist symptoms, you should have full access to your website files. Google will give you a report with URL’s that are flagging up as infected. Take note of these as they will come in handy when fixing the issue. It is also important to note down the date that Google scanned your site and the date that it was blacklisted. This will make it easier to narrow down what initially caused the infection in the first place.

Under no circumstances should you modify your files if you are in any doubt – seek help from a professional.
Manually removing code can result in permanently damaging your website, always have a backup.

If you used CMS software to build your website, rebuilding it will be as simple as copying your core files and extensions from the initial files and start from fresh.

If you’re looking to remove the malware files manually, this is where the URL’s and discovery date will come in handy, you can start by looking at files that have recently been added or modified since the discovery date and go from there.

Most hosting companies will have access to admin files through PHPMyAdmin, you will need to access these files in order to remove malware from your website’s code. There are other alternatives like “Search-Replace-DB” or “Administrator” tools to gain access to the front-end database.

The next thing you want to do is get back onto Google and start building your SEO. Request a security review, this will let Google know that you have removed any malware and your website is ready to be rescanned. It can take a few days for Google to remove the blacklisting warning on your website, so be patient.

3 key steps to take to avoid being blacklisted.

  1. Constantly updating your plug-ins, and general maintenance on your website will keep hackers from getting into your code and taking over your website.
  2. Always backup your website and files, it will be easier to replace damaged website and files if you are ever faced with blacklisting.
  3. Always have the updated version of website firewalls. It’s there to protect your website from hackers.

 

If you are having any issues with blacklisting and need any advice please contact us at hello@abitgooey.com or ring us on 0161 237 3114, we are here to help.