Hacked Websites and it’s negative SEO effects

If there is one certainty in the world of web is that your website is not 100% safe. In fact, if you have not taken the necessary precautions then chances are your going to one day get hacked. Now you might be thinking that this will never happen to me, but believe me when I tell you that websites get hacked all the time and it’s a lot more common than you would think. We speak to so many people that have had some type of hacking issue. Whether it’s a virus, malware or some malicious script, code or link put onto your site, it does happen.

If you have a web developer (who knows what they are doing) who is on your staff then a hacked website might not be an issue. But for the majority of businesses in Australia this is a luxury and getting immediate access to a developer can be difficult.
How can you tell if your website has been hacked?

This is easy. All you need to do is type your brand name into Google and if nothing shows up then Google has de-indexed your site because of this issue. After all, if there’s a nasty image on your website (placed there by the hackers) Google will not want this in the search results; hence it gets de-indexed.

Another way to tell is if there is a sudden drop in your rankings. This is a tell tale sign that something dire is happening.
What should you do if you have been hacked?

Well, the very first thing is not panic. I know this is hard but you must be calm and follow these steps:

#1. Call the people that developed your website and if there is no answer or luck with them speak to your hosting providor. They will be able to immediately see if the issue is due to hacking and they may be able to fix this very quickly for you. What they will do, if they have back ups of your website is restore the latest un-hacked, clean version.

# 2. If point 1 does not resolve the issue, try to get in touch with a developer that can actually fix the issue and prevent this from happening again. The problem might be that your website does not have the latest plug ins and updates and was therefore easy to penetrate. These developers must ensure that they go through your website thoroughly, looking for any issues and make sure they plug these holes.

These are really the only 2 options you can take. Firstly, you have to identify the issue, delete it and then clean up the site and make sure this does not happen again.
What are the SEO implications for a hacked website?

Basically, they are terrible. If Google has de indexed your website and you have not fixed the issue then the site will remain this way. You will loose all your rankings and your sales will ultimately drop. This is a disaster if you rely on Google to generate leads or even worse, if potential clients are searching you’re your website and can’t find it. Total disaster!

Another form of hacking is where they are able to infect your hosting environment and if this happens then your hosting company will take the website down. Being offline and having downtime is really bad for your SEO as Google takes down times very seriously. They want to promote websites with near perfect uptime and if they keep trawling your website and note that there is a continuous pattern of downtime they will penalise your website rankings. Getting them back can often take many months as Google will want to see a stable online history.

In conclusion getting hacked is detrimental to your business and is going to kill your SEO rankings. If you have been the target of a hacker the best thing to do is take immediate action and steps to mitigate the damage that it will cause.

As an SEO agency we can also take a look at your website, it’s hosting environment and tighten everything up for you so you can sleep a lot easier at night. Last thing your ever want to happen is a site that’s been down for more than 24 hours. Longer than this, the damage just snowballs. Fixing the site is one aspect, the next is to have a company like ours monitor it’s performance and guard it against any future attacks.

Have you lost your Google ranking? Don’t panic.

Lost your SEO rankings? We can help.

So, you have worked very hard to finally get your Google ranking where you would like it to be. That is, on the first page of Google for your main keywords. You have watched your website over the last 3 to 4 months slowly and gradually make it’s way from page 100 all the way up the rankings. How fantastic is that? Business is booming and the phone is ringing off the hook. You could not be more happier.

You can see all the sales leads start to flow in and all those juicy new contracts being signed up. Business is great, you are employing new staff and you are gaining access to a whole new range of clients never thought possible. All of this is due to your rankings and the fabulous work that your SEO company is doing.

Then all of a sudden you go to check your SEO rankings and you get the shock of your life! You are no longer there. Your heart starts to race, your start to panic and for the life of you, you can’t imagine why this has happened.

shutterstockLet me explain what has happened.

This is a common occurrence and can happen and does happen to all types of businesses that have gone down the path of using an SEO company that has absolutely no idea of what they are doing. Essentially, you have been scammed and have used an SEO agency that has simply taken you money.

We have seen this happen time and time again and I cannot tell you how many calls I receive each day from distressed business owners who are in deep trouble because of this.

If you feel that this has happened to you and are absolutely freaking out about what are the appropriate next steps, then please let us know on 02 9360 8514 and we will be able to turn things around for you and get you out of this dreaded Google penalty and rankings drop.

There are basically two types of lost Google rankings. There are the slow gradual loss of ranks which happen over a period of time. Not ideal, but this is the best type of rank loss ( if you were to have one). This means that you have done nothing wrong in regards to your SEO, but your competition for your main keywords has decided to be more aggressive, hence they have over taken you. The best way to counter balance this is to be a little more aggressive with your own SEO campaign. This should work and over time you will start to see your rankings slowly climb back.

A point to note here is that you can’t be too zealous with your SEO campaign or you will end up getting a Google penalty which is described in point number 2. Take things nice and slowly and do not rush with your link building. This is the worse this you can do. Remember not to panic.

The second reason, why your website has suddenly plummeted is because of website penalty. This is the most common problem and there are a few reasons why this has happened.

The main reason is that your SEO company has over optimised your main keywords and this appears ‘spammy’ in the eyes of Google. Basically, Google likes your linking profile to be as organic as possible and if there are suddenly thousands of in bound links, then this will trigger and alert within the search engines. Hence, your website will be either de-indexed or suddenly drop. Many SEO companies in order to full full their promise to you over the phone of super fast rankings will have to over optimse in order to keep their end of the bargain. If they say they will rank you fast, they will do it but this is not the right way to go about things.

What are the Steps Involved in Getting Your SEO Ranking Back?

Firstly, and I know this is hard, but don’t stress too much, there is a solution and we can help all you need to do is digest these points and then leave it to the experts to help you get out of this situation.

1) We have to work out the exact links that have been made. We need to look at your whole linking profile and we do this by gaining access to your Google web master tools account. Most site we do see will have some serious toxic links and our role is to get rid of these ASAP.

2) We then look at ways to remove all  of these links. This is the hard part but our team know the best way to facilitate this. Obviously, because you are in this position, you have used a SEO provider who has used a poor linking strategy and we may have to spend some time on this step, due to the difficulty in getting in touch with all the web owners, where your links are on.

3) Whilst we are implementing this de linking we will check all your ‘on page’ titles, tags and meta descriptions to make sure that these have been done properly. In some cases a quick fix here and your problems are solved. We also make sure that your web content is unique and not copied from any other sites, which could play a major part in this. I could go on for ages about content marketing and the relevance of unique content, but if your site is a blatant copy of another, you will be penalised.

4) Some links may be OK and we make sure that we keep these. Some links are however, low value and are poor quality. In the past these types of links were OK and did have an impact on your rankings. However, due to the over popularity and misuse of this type of SEO, Google has devalued the credibility of these types of in bound links. We will address this and ensure that your website has the best and most highly ranked links associated with it.

5) Finally and we do this when we have ticked all the boxes, and are totally compliant, we submit your new cleaner website for a reconsideration request. Nine times out of ten we make sure that we get you out of the penalty and you start to rank again.

If you have lost your SEO rankings and need to get back to where you were before please get in touch with us today – we will turn your nightmare around very quickly for you and get back those much loved rankings. We are on 02 9360 8514. If on the other hand you are concerned with the way your website was designed and your feel that your on page SEO  has been somewhat neglected I am more than happy to do a SEO audit of your site over the phone and give you some quick pointers on what’s missing and what’s wrong.