New hope for hacked sites

Posted by Rebecca Appleton on 7 Oct, 2015
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Google will offer more help to webmasters fighting to recoup search positions after their site has been hacked it says, as it launches changes to its reconsideration process.

In figures made public on its blog, Google says it has recorded a 180% increase in the number of sites being hacked this year, with a 300% increase in the number of reconsideration requests it’s received.

The search engine has now recognised the difficulties inherent in the reconsideration process and rolled out a few changes which it says are designed to support webmasters who have been hacked. Its three-pronged attack to help hacked sites get back up and running and restored to their former positions pledges:

  1. Improved communication

  2. Better tools

  3. A continuous feedback loop

The search engine has also said that the step up for victims of hacking is part of a wider support initiative designed to protect websites from being hacked in the first place.

Better communication will come in the form of specific feedback and tailored advice to sites filling a reconsideration request. The custom advice is sent to around 70% of webmasters with a rejected reconsideration request, giving instructions on how to solve the problem and successfully win reconsideration in future. Google says these personalised feedbacks reduce the amount of time taken for a manual action against a site to be removed following a hack by 29%.

As part of this same better communication pledge, Google has also made more advice available to webmasters to improve website security and quickly tackle hacking issues if the site is compromised.

Under the better tools promise, webmasters will now have better access to the resources they need to recover from a hack. These include the auto removal of hacked manual actions –though this is still in beta testing. This manual action removal will take place when search engine spiders detect that hacked content has already been removed – however, the webmaster should still submit a reconsideration request.

A hacked site troubleshooter is also available in over 20 languages, which guides webmasters of hacked sites through a series of steps to recover from the intrusion. Last year’s Fetch as Google tool can also be used in the case of hacking by showing exactly how Google sees the site. This makes it easier to detect any hacked content including injected content.

Finally, Google says that feedback from site owners being hacked and going through the reconsideration request will also continue to inform its practices. It hosted webmasters in both the USA and Ireland last year to brainstorm on ways it could improve the reconsideration process as well as the action taken against hacked sites.

Has your site ever been hacked? How did you find the Google reconsideration process?


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