Is your WordPress site hacked? It could be, but don’t panic yet. Do you believe hackers are evil for the sake of being evil? Well, the reality is that isn’t the case. SEO is a HUGE incentive for hackers, as they can control the data flow. As soon as a hacker penetrates your WordPress Security or lack thereof, it can be very tricky to take back your WordPress site. Most black hat SEO specialists are great at covering their tracks, which makes it almost impossible for you to discover the malicious code. Well, that is until now, my goal is to help you learn how to protect your WordPress site and learn how to take it back.
Making sure you have an early warning system in place is a great way to keep your site up and running. You have many options, but one of the easiest ones that offer some other benefits is Google Search Console. Google Search Console, use to be Google Webmaster tools and helps good index your site, optimize visibility, and checks for errors on your site. The last part of this is what I care about, and you should too. Google will alert you, and send you a message if it finds and identifies any malicious redirects.
I’m not attacking all SEO companies and professionals here, by no means. Just like anything else, SEO skills and hacking skills are just skills, and it matters who is using them if they are used right or wrong. Just like hacking, there are two types of SEO: white hat SEO, which are the good guys, doing it the right way, not trying to cut corners, and helping out their clients. Then you have black hat SEO, these guys cut every corner, use link injection, hidden text and links, cloaking, fake click bait, and some other bad tactics. If you hire a company or use black hat SEO hacking techniques will get you banned on Google. Please make sure you are using Googles Webmaster Guidelines when it comes to SEO, but I digress from WordPress security and how to protect your WordPress site.
The Impact a Hack Has
Your business is built on you, your hard work, and your reputation. I don’t care how big or small your business is, it was all built the same way with these methods. If your website gets hacked you, most likely won’t even know right away. Thousands of websites are hacked daily, and even more currently have fake links injecting rip-off products, scams, and other malicious links. Chances are your site has some form of a hack on it now. But don’t worry, that is why we are here, to start fixing problems.
Why link injection is so dangerous
Once your website has been hacked with link injection software, Google search bots will see multiple links outbound to malicious sites. One of the factors that Google uses to figure out your SEO ranking is the quality of your outbound links. Now you should see how this can become an issue for you, your WordPress site gets a link injection attack, search bots search your site and see lots of outbound links that are malicious, then your SEO ranking for all your keywords drops, or worse you get delisted by Google. And from this point, it just becomes a nightmare to get it all fixed. Cleaning up your WordPress site is a long and challenging process. While it is relatively easy to get rid of the malicious software, the damage it causes is much harder to clean up. Search engines, unfortunately, have a long memory and are not very forgiving, which is terrible for you, because during this time the organic traffic to your site is going to suffer and so is your business.
Detecting Spam SEO
SEO spam is tricky because it’s not visible. Nevertheless, you can reveal it in a few different ways:
1. A drastic drop in your natural traffic displaying in your Google Analytics statistics
2. An alert from Google Search Console. Every website owner should sign up for this free Google tool to keep current on anything fishy that the online search engine spider sees on your site.
3. Check your source code. If you see any irregularities on your site code like male enhancement pill links, it’s time to clean up your website.
4. Take notice of consumer complaints. Usually, your consumers will notice things you don’t see. Follow-up on all problems, even the small ones, what you find might save you from getting delisted by Google.
Protecting Your WordPress Site
More than likely you are inviting the hackers directly into your WordPress site. Don’t believe me? Well, you should. You allow them to walk right in, by using outdated plugins and themes. Or you install plugins and themes by malicious developers. Just because it is free, doesn’t mean it is good, you already know you get what you pay for in this world, so why would you trust your website to free plugins? Premium plugins cost money up front, but you get updates, bug fixes and security fixes for an amount of time, plus most premium plugins are correctly coded as this is someone else’s lively hood. When it comes to plugins and themes, you either pay for them up front or pay for them in the long run. And paying for them later has a much higher cost.