This Site May Be Hacked

Imagine that you are searching in Google. The results appear, and next to one there is a "This site may be hacked" message. What do you think? Would you click on it? Now imagine it is your site.

Spend 1 minute going through the following to understand what is happening, and what you can do about it.

You'll see the message "This site may be hacked" when Google believes that a hacker might have changed some of the existing pages on the site or added new spam pages. If you visit the site, you could be redirected to spam or malware. They recommend that you don't visit the website until this message disappears from the search result.

Even if you don't think that your site has been compromised, you have to take action. But be very careful, just in case it is infected (Google is probably correct!).

Google has a list of instructions on their website. To be honest, if you have even the most basic online marketing in place, then you should already have been notified by them, and you would have had a big head start.

Once you have sorted out whatever the symptoms were, you then have to submit a reconsideration request. This takes time, so the warning message could continue to be displayed for a while.

In addition to sorting out the problem, you should identify and rectify the cause: how was it able to happen, and what should be done to stop it happening again.

If we become more analytical, we could criticise the phrase used. What they really mean is that (in their opinion) the site might have been hacked. It is not a definite, but something in the past makes them think that it is likely to have happened. Perhaps more depressing is the realisation that all websites may be hacked, ie there is the possibility that they could be.

So how does this relate to online marketing? In 2 ways. Firstly, there is a cynical view that as your site becomes more successful, some unscrupulous rivals will resort to underhand tactics to unseat you. Second, and more likely and importantly, is the fact that as your site becomes more successful, any outages have a much higher profile. Both make the point that online marketing must take both an offensive and defensive strategy, to both increase and retain your position.

If that's your approach, then congratulations. But what if you don't do this? If you don't care about your website marketing, then it's not really an issue. However, you wouldn't have read this far, would you?

Usually I would suggest that you first contact whomever looks after your website. However, you may now realise that website design and website marketing are two different skill sets. That is why web designers pass clients to us. Get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

By Kenneth Mackay, 10th November, 2015

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

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