How does a hacked website impact SEO
Websites can be hacked in many ways – most customers don’t even know they’ve been hacked until someone or some service tells them. Google has gotten better a not only finding hacked sites or sites with malicious code but also notifying the site owner assuming that they’ve set up Google Search Console (formerly webmaster tools).
If you’re set up with Google and they find malicious code they will notify you that they’ve found and will restrict traffic to the site until it’s fixed. Less than 50% of site owners realize that their sites have been hacked. Since only a small number of website owners properly set up any kind of website protection – the numbers of hacked sites are much larger than we can imagine.
In a recent survey by Wordfence, which we participated, showed some bad news. 66% of respondents stated that search traffic was impacted by a hack and 14% saw a traffic drop of over 75% or more. We’ve seen this happen several times and in each case – search traffic ranking – organic search and SEO dropped by a large amount – on average of at least 50%.
At a minimum – if google finds a site that’s hacked – it will restrict traffic to it until it’s cleaning. If you wait too long – it’s more than likely you will loose your website page rankings on google. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to be vigilant although nothing is full-proof. In addition to using Google’s search console, we utilize several methods to ensure hacking. On all wordpress sites we use Cloudflare, Wordfence, Plugins to hide logins on WordPress and always make sure our plugins are up to date. We will discuss this in the next blogs.
With proper protection we can find malicious code pretty fast and remove it before Google discovers it and thus avoiding any negative impact to website traffic, SEO and organic traffic.