How to Recover your Website’s SEO from a Hacked WordPress Site

by Kiera Hayes | Feb 15, 2021 | How To, Security, SEO, WordPress

WordPress, the most popular content management system is an ideal place for most of the businesses out there. However, this doesn’t mean that it is unhackable. As WordPress is so popular, hackers take their time and effort to hack WordPress websites and their SEO. If done successfully, they can access other sites that do not update regularly or have left their website dormant for some reason.

If your website gets hacked and you are worried about completely recovering, then this article is for you. A hacked site quickly loses SERP rating and if left unchecked can get banned from Google search engine. Today we will be going through a small tutorial on how to recover your website’s SEO after it gets hacked. Let’s get started.

Things to do just after your hack happens

Time is of true essence. Once you get hacked, you should not waste time and start working with the following points.

  • Recheck if you got hacked or it was a false alarm. Sometimes, firewalls or antivirus can give a false alarm.
  • Once you are sure, back up your website one last time.
  • Now, you need to take it offline.
  • Once it is offline, determine how much damage is done. Answering questions such as “what exploit the hacker used?” can help you.
  • List the plugins and themes that are outdated.
  • Once done, update them to their latest version.
  • Use tools and plugins to remove any infections from your installation. We recommend getting the help of a professional security expert to do it for you.
  • Once cleaned, bring your website up.

Congratulations on completing your first step. Maintenance is always harder than building a website. Now that you have your site back online, you’ll need to check how much SEO damage has been done when you were offline. This step is essential as you won’t be able to recover if you don’t know how much you are affected.

Assessing the SEO damage

It’s now time to get started with SEO damage assessment. To know if Google has flagged your website, you need to open the following URL. 

http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=XYZ

At the end of the URL, you need to put the URL of your site. In this case, replace, “XYZ” with your site URL. If you are told to do safe browsing, then you are now flagged. Google will put you in either attack sites or compromised sites. Most of the time, your site will be listed on compromised sites. If you are hacked in a way that infects a visitor’s computer, then your site will be listed under “Attack sites.

Google Search Console

You can find more information regarding the hack and its severity in Google Search Console. Check the “messages” section. You will surely get a message if your site is infected. Next, you can also check “Security Issues.”

Checking mail

Google is also proactive when it comes to informing the site owner about the potential hack. So, you might also want to check your email if you’re want to know about the hack.

Checking search results

Lastly, you may also want to know how your site appears in normal search results. You can do a site-specific search on Google by using the following search string.

Site: www.yourwebsite.com

Of course, you need to replace the above URL with your website. Once you do, you will either see a proper search result or a warning from Google. The warning can either read as “the site may be compromised” or “the site can harm your computer.” Whatever, the message you get, it is now confirmed that your site is compromised and your SERP rating has taken a hit.

Getting the true picture

Google takes the customer experience very seriously. This means that if your site is hacked or is infected, Google will penalize you severely. You will not only lose traffic but also lose search engine ranking. Your site will be flagged which in turn will send notifications to the visitors when they try to visit the website directly or through the search results.

Overall, you will see a significant drop in traffic. As a professional blogger or website owner, you should be varied on this issue and should proactively try to protect your website. It should start with the hosting itself. Always choose a hosting that provides excellent security from the onset. Before making the final decision, still read the website hosting review.

How to solve or recover your website’s SEO?

Now that you have understood the impact of being hacked on SEO, it is now time to recover your website. If you do things right, you can recover your site in less than 24 hours. Yes, you read it right! So, let’s list how to do it below.

1. Make sure that your site is free from any infection. If you are not sure, we recommend you to take the help of a professional before proceeding further. If you miss something, you are bound to do everything again. So, do not miss this step at any cost!

2. Add your site to Google Search Console. This is not a mandatory step, but we recommend you to do it as it will list your website and also show you which pages are infected. If the site recovers from being hacked, the search console will surely let you about the changes. Adding your site to Google Search Console also means that you are submitting your site to Google for crawling.

3. The last step is to request a malware review from Google. To do so, you need to go to Google Search Console, and then finally choosing “Security Issues.” Under that option, you will get the option to “Request a review.”

Conclusion

By following the guide, you can quickly recover your website’s SEO after getting hacked. So, what do you think about the process? Did you get infected and how? Our readers would love to know! Comment below and let us know.

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