There is nothing worse than receiving a notification from a site visitor that your site has been flagged as spam or malicious. After all, you spend hours creating unique content, link building, and generally making sure your website is perfect. But that flag can cause untold problems, not just for your site traffic but also for your reputation and search engine optimization.
Here Are Some Tips and Tools to Resolve Your Issues and Regain Favor with Google.
First, don’t ignore the problem. Google can remove you from the search engine rankings if the problem isn’t solved, you’ll lose search traffic when visitors see the malicious page warning, and your website hosting company may even take down your site.
Before you can run further analysis, you need to find out if the flag is for spam or for malicious content.
This could be because Google or another search engine has updated its algorithm or changed it entirely (as with Hummingbird) and your content is viewed as spam. Remember when creating content that quality, unique, fresh content and well-written copy will always help prevent this occurrence.
Spoofing of your domain to send Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE). It is a relatively simple matter to disguise the headers in an email and for a spammer to send out junk email making it appear as though it came from your servers. Increase security on your email servers or seek support from your hosting company if you have become a victim of this practice.
Shared IP addresses – some cheap hosting companies have a block of websites on a single IP address. Check before you choose your hosting company whether this is the case and either pay for your own IP address or go to another host. Even if one website on your IP address is flagged, you can suffer too – so stay out of those “bad neighborhoods”.
Malware, virus, spyware, malicious code, a vulnerable plug-in – there are many ways that your site can be attacked. You must make sure that your website code is updated at all times, especially if using WordPress or similar mass use content management systems which often become a target. When creating your content, be careful what you upload to your site and always scan any files before putting these onto your site and server.
How To Resolve The Problem
The most common flag is from Google. To check whether your website has been flagged, use this Google SEO tool at the following link: http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=YOURDOMAINHERE
Next, you’ll need to eliminate the malware on your site and fix the problem. This means
a) searching the Internet for solutions
b) talking to your hosting company and/or
c) getting a developer or security expert to resolve the problem
Most of the bigger antivirus companies actually offer online analysis that checks for viruses and malware. Use the following tools by entering your URL at McAfee Site Advisor, Norton Safe Web, AVG Online Web Scanner, Trend Micro and Securi. While it might be a little time-consuming, it’s worth performing a test using all the tools as some sites will detect problems that others may miss.
The vast majority of malware and viruses are detected rapidly and solutions can be found using an online checker. However, if the solution is beyond your technical skill set, do seek advice and expertise rather than ignoring the problem.
Many people use plug-ins and extensions to constantly test and monitor the sites that they visit to avoid infection. These work mainly through reporting by the community of users.
The most well-known of these is Web of Trust which works in all the major browsers. It is an indispensable extension for safer surfing whether your site has been compromised or not.
When you have resolved the issue, you need to make sure it doesn’t happen again – so make sure you have taken all the necessary steps to protect yourself from another issue with malicious content.
Also be sure to check out our resources for doing SEO the right way, by creating quality content and optimizing your website using the best SEO tactics.