How to secure your website’s SEO against hackers

How to ensure website positioning security

Every commercial website owner understands the need to promote the site in the search engines Google and Yandex. Companies are spending huge sums on website promotion, ordering internal and external optimization, increase link mass, improve behavioral factors, while leaving unattended such an important component as site safety during its promotion in search engines.

At one point the site may be blocked by antivirus, search engine, or hoster for distributing viruses or spamming. As a result, just a couple of days of all the long and methodical work on the promotion of the site or advertising campaigns is a waste, and investment in the promotion are spent in vain.


Unfortunately, few site owners today pay attention to information security and site protection against hacking. Site owners believe that their site is of no interest to hackers, and if problems arise, they can be promptly resolved by turning to professionals. Unfortunately, in practice, it is not so optimistic.

Hacking in SEO

Hacking and infection of the site in most cases lead to unfortunate consequences

  1. A significant drop in site traffic.
  2. The site becomes inaccessible to visitors.
  3. Pages fall out of the search index.
  4. Filters are imposed on the site, and sometimes the ban.
  5. Visitor confidence in the site decreases as a result of the “site may threaten the security of your computer…” mark in search results.

As a result of the hack, the infected commercial site ceases to be a business tool and bring income to the owner. Moreover, if the offline component of the business did not exist, the businessman loses the only source of income (for example, in the case of complete destruction of the site by an intruder). And all the results of promotion are lost.

Consequences of website hacking

1. Site traffic drops

The hacker gets unauthorized access to the site, places malicious code on it, which is quickly enough detected by search engine antivirus or desktop antivirus, and gets into the database of malicious.

website traffic

If a search engine has detected a virus, it is “branded” in the search results, warning visitors of the danger.

In Yandex, this message is: “The site may threaten the security of your computer or mobile device”, in Google: “This site may harm your computer”.

These warnings reduce search traffic to the site and visitors’ loyalty to the online resource. A visitor is unlikely to want to buy something from an online store that spreads viruses.

Another negative thing when search engine antivirus detects malicious code is that browsers and services work based on Google Safe Browsing API and Yandex Safe Browsing API (for example, Opera, Chrome, and Yandex. Browser) block the site.

As soon as browsers become aware of the dangers of a web resource, they start blocking access to all of its pages. When opening a page, a visitor will see a frightening warning about an infected site and is likely to close the browser.

It is for these reasons, most owners of infected sites see a sharp drop in site traffic, sometimes by 70-80%.

What to do? It is necessary to “cure” the site and send it to the anti-virus laboratory or antivirus tech support to be excluded from the list of malicious.

Unfortunately, the process of removing a site from the malware database can take weeks in some cases.

For example, the technical support of some antivirus and antivirus services is in no hurry to respond to a request for rechecking, so you have to apply several times through various channels and in each case wait several days for a response.

All this time the site will lose visitors, and the owner of the Internet business – profit. Search engines are more responsive in this regard, the process of removing the site from the virus database – a matter of 2-3 working days.

2. The site is not available to visitors

During a routine check of client sites for malware and hacker scripts, a hosting company may detect “malware” and block access to a site or an entire account for violating a service contract. Deactivating the account will result in a hosting “stub” with a message that the site is blocked instead of the pages.

error 503

If at the time of blocking search engines will start to index the site, in the search index will be the only page. This will not be the best way to promote the site, as the real pages of the site may be out of the search index for a long time.

In addition to search engines and visitors also lose confidence in the resource, when they see the plug hosting or status 503 instead of the usual pages.

The consequence of a hack can be damage to the site by the hacker, up to its complete destruction. Sometimes the intruder intentionally or accidentally damages the scripts or database, and sometimes they can erase them completely.

If the hosting or the site owner has a backup copy, the site can be restored. If not (and this sometimes happens), the owner of an Internet business is left at the “broken trough.

3. Pages of infected site drop out of the search index

If a page on a site contains code that is dangerous to visitors, the search engine decides to remove those pages from search results.

Usually the hacker places code in a template or .js file that is used on all pages on the site, so most of the pages drop out of the search engine results. To get them back, you have to clean the site of the malicious code and wait for reindexing. This can be a rather lengthy procedure.

A popular type of hacking activity on a compromised site is placing black hat SEO links or link exchange codes. This is done to make money or promote your own projects.

Links may not be visible to ordinary visitors (for example, placed in an invisible layer or behind a visible page border), and cloaking technology may be used to give them only to a search engine robot or a link exchange.

As a result, the site unobtrusively becomes a link farm with all the negative consequences for search engine promotion.

Another factor that is detrimental to the SEO of the site is the drawers. If a hacker has placed a doorway on a site, several thousand spam pages get into the search index. These pages interfere with normal promotion and can lead to the pessimization of the site by search engines.

In addition to the physical removal of the web page from the site (and this can be a single PHP script, as well as thousands of static pages within directories), you need to configure the rules by which spam pages will return 404 status, banned for indexing in robots.txt and removed through the webmaster panel.

They will disappear from search results only after reindexing the site and updating the search index, which is not very fast. Until then, visitors will see “adult content”, program serializers, phone number database, etc. in search results for your site.

How to ensure site security?

What should the site owner do to prevent the possible negative consequences of hacking and save the result of SEO promotion?

First, do not have illusions about the security of the site, assess the risks sensibly and understand the consequences of hacking.

Secondly, a number of preventive measures that will significantly reduce the likelihood of unauthorized access to the resource and its compromise:

  1. It is necessary to perform site diagnostics to assess the level of security.
  2. Implement protection and follow safety procedures when working with the site.
  3. Organize regular monitoring to detect problems promptly.
  4. Make a plan to respond to incidents.

The owner of a commercial resource should remember that the foundation of a successful promotion in search engines is a stable and secure site. Only in this case, a successful return on investment in an SEO site is possible.

Yashik Patel
Yashik Patel is a Google Certified, Digital Marketing and professional Blogger. He has 5+ years experience in SEO, SEM and ORM (Online Reputation Management) field.

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