By now, the hacker craze of the 90’s and early 2000’s has died down quite a bit. Most people don’t worry about hackers all that much, so long as you use some solid anti-virus and keep your router protected. Big businesses may have to worry about Anonymous’ hi jinks, but the common person don’t tend to concern themselves with the issue. Hacking especially doesn’t seem like that big of an issue for SEO, at first.
But, hackers can actually do your site some damage, and can even get your site entirely dropped from the Google search index. Sites get blacklisted when hackers inject malicious code onto servers, as Google seeks to protects searchers’ computers from any sort of compromising.
While Google doesn’t immediately drop sites from their index, being blacklisted leads to a complete drop in organic traffic and can be a crisis for SEO. Blacklisting starts as a warning to searchers that a site may be compromised, and few will continue past that alarm.
This has become a rather significant problem for Google. To help provide wide support for the increasing number of webmasters dealing with compromised servers, Google has launched the ‘Webmasters Help for Hacked Sites‘ support center. They give detailed information on how to clean and repair your server and prevent your site from getting entirely dropped from the Google index.
If you think this sort of hacking isn’t a big deal, check out the charts below. They show just how frequent this type of malicious activity has become. It isn’t just banks and large corporations dealing with it. Small businesses are just as at risk as international franchises. The most common form of attack is an automated set of processes that indiscriminately discover and exploit vulnerabilities on servers, which are often left completely unprotected.
Search Engine Journal recently explored the issue more in depth, unpacking why the issue is such a large concern to Google and webmasters alike. Compromised sites can destroy a search engine’s credibility just as your own, so the problem has to be taken very seriously.