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.