Whether or not you’ve trodded the unfortunately well-trodded road of website hackdom, it is important to know that there are ways you can keep your site secure.
A hacked website is harder to fix than a hacked computer.
When your computer gets malware or viruses, you fix it. You do a scan. You send it to the Apple Store. Worst case scenario: you buy a new computer.
When your WEBSITE gets malware, you risk losing Google’s trust. This can absolutely plummet your traffic and worse – get you blacklisted from Google. This affects the credibility that goes along with your domain name, your brand, the way you are perceived – everything!
Some webmasters don’t even discover they’ve been hacked until Google warns them about proceeding to their own website.
It can take several months – sometimes up to a year – for Google to ‘like’ you again.
if you’re interested in improving your rank, click here to access the recording from my Google Rank Teleclass in April.
I have a lot of 404s. What do 404 errors mean?
A 404 error (in SEO) happens when Google tries to ‘crawl’ or find a page of your website that isn’t there. Which results in the 404.
Google can also revoke a little trust if your website has a lot of these kinds of errors. There is no formal statement from Google attesting to that. In fact, they say 404s don’t impact traffic. But in my experience, they do very much. So it in your best interest to monitor this type of data as well as malware.
I don’t want to cause confusion: 404s are not indicative you have malware. Usually, they are just a sign that a plugin is leading Google to find pages that don’t exist on your website. To reduce 404s, disable plugins one by one and see if the 404s decrease. You want to do everything possible to show Google that you have your sh*t together, so to speak.
What are the warning signs of a hacked website?
– If, when you try to access your website, Google warns you about its security.
– If, when you try to paste a link into social media channels, some garbled SPAM appears in the link preview.
– If bogus activity starts happening… ie. You click a link to your about page and get ‘redirected’ to a website selling Viagra.
How to Secure a Site
- Hiring a trustworthy web developer who can provide you with a security-focused maintenance plan.
- Regularly backing up your website or making sure your host does.
- Hiring someone to do your software updates, at least on a monthly basis. Do NOT (I repeat) do NOT do these yourself. You could do something that would break your website.
- Purchasing hosting from a trusted company. I recommend SiteGround, but there are a few good ones.
- Investing in SiteLock – a company that will monitor your website’s security and (depending on the plan you choose) delete any malware that may creep in on arrival.
- Resisting the urge to download a million plugins. Plugins (since they’re made by every Tom, Dick, and Harry) can be made with little holes in them that allow for the possibility of a security breach. Some plugins are OK. And some can really cause problems. Even if a plugin is no issue at the beginning, as you update WordPress, it could create a security issue down the line.
- Having the same password for your Hosting/CPanel, your domain service provider (if different), your WordPress, and your database.
- Using ‘admin’ as your WordPress username. (This can be changed!)
How to Fix a Hacked WordPress Site
- SiteLock guarantees they will fix your website for a flat rate so seek them out first. Some really advanced web developers (and I mean REALLY advanced) *may* be able to do it. But I don’t know any who can.
- Once your site has been cleaned, update all your software (plugins, WordPress, and all). Then resubmit your site to Google via Webmaster Tools. When you log into Google Webmaster Tools, go to the left side navigation. Click Malware. You should see a resubmit-to-Google-type button there.
Click here to run a free online scan of your website courtesy of Sucuri.net.
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