Last week, a prominent non-profit website was hacked by a group known as ISIS. Because of the non-profit's popularity and well-known name in the St Louis area, several news organizations picked up on the story and reported it on TV and radio. Both that site and the marketing company that set up the site were attacked and taken offline. Now, while this attack could have been easily prevented by keeping their WordPress installations up to date, they didn't do so.
But what if the opposite happens - your site isn't hacked, but the search engines report it as dangerous?
As powerful and intelligent as the Google search algorithm may be, it is not perfect. In recent news, Google has attempted to improve its users’ experience by finding hacked sites that could be potentially dangerous and posting a disclaimer on the results pages. At first glance, this sounds like a great addition to the search engine. Who wouldn’t want a cleaner, safer internet? Unfortunately enough, many websites have been misclassified by the algorithm and labeled as a hacked site when they are, in fact, legitimate web pages.
How Does This Affect Your Website and Visitors?
If your website has unjustly been identified as a ‘hacked site,’ this is an incredibly problematic error that you need to address immediately. The biggest losses are twofold. Firstly, you lose a lot of trust from your visitors and audience that can do long term damage to your credibility. After all, who would want to follow a link to a page that Google (the strongest and most advanced internet entity) has deemed hacked, unsafe, or malicious? Which brings me to the second loss.