Being blacklisted by Google may be the biggest fear for any site because it can cause extensive damage. Google’s smartness lies in its consistency, considering that it constantly monitors websites to locate the ones that are potentially dangerous to the visitors. The threats may be in the form of malicious code that the site may install in the user’s computer or theft of personal information of the user.
Whenever Google detects such threats, whether intentional and inadvertent, it will take the site to its blacklist. Having your WordPress website on Google’s blacklist can cause the traffic to fall down, which may lead to the loss of revenue and reputation. Considering the negative implications that it may have, it is important to be aware of blacklisting so that you can take action to prevent and resolve it. Here is all that you need to know to prevent your WordPress website from going on Google’s blacklist.
What makes your website susceptible to being blacklisted?
Being blacklisted is woeful as Google will start flashing warning signs on the website to dissuade the users. So it is absolutely important to be vigilant and know if you are susceptible. The reasons for Google considering to take you on the list could be varied. They could range from algorithmic changes to security issues that need to be fixed.
Here are some of them:
- Presence of malware on the host servers or network
- Presence of phishing or scam pages
- Content that is of low-quality, controversial, pornographic, or plagiarized
- Redirection to other web pages
- Linking to malicious or spammy pages
- The use of unethical SEO practices
Each of these aspects puts your site at the risk of being penalized. Partnering with a professional WordPress website development company is the best way to identify these issues and have them fixed.
How to understand that your website has been blacklisted by Google?
- While Google may notify the webmasters while de-indexing the website, it may not always do it. So it becomes important to be vigilant for the signs that your site has been taken to the blacklist:
- Flashing of warning messages such as “The site may harm your computer” or “The site may be hacked”
- Warning the users that the site is Potentially Unsafe or Potentially Compromised
- Loading of an empty page or the homepage redirecting to another URL
- SEO spam links and redirects in SERPs
- Weird pages and ads being returned on searching the site in Google
- Bouncing of e-mails
- A visible reduction in the website’s speed
- Website not appearing on Google’s index
- Increase in the bandwidth usage
- Browser loading weird content from external sources
- A decrease in website traffic
- Flashing of unfamiliar popups, spammy content or weird ads
- The appearance of strange code fragments in the site’s header or footer when Ctrl+U is clicked
- Warnings about malicious code on the website on the Webmaster Tools account
How to confirm that your WordPress website is on Google’s Blacklist?
If you notice the signs of being blacklisted but have no notification for the same, you can confirm it with some specific checks. These include the following:
- Conduct a manual check by typing the website’s address in the Google search bar. The site may have been de-indexed if it does not show up.
- Several free online scan tools are available to detect whether your site has been penalized.
- Sucuri SiteCheck is another effective tool that can be used for detecting the presence of malware and identifying blacklisting as well.
- The best measure to check the security issues for your website is to use Google Webmaster Tools. These tools yield helpful information about the site health.
How to keep the website off Google’s Blacklist?
Being on Google’s Blacklist can have serious implications as dealing with de-indexing is a difficult and time-taking task. Therefore, taking preventive measures is a better approach. Here are a few measures that will help you keep your WordPress site off Google’s Blacklist:
- Installing a firewall and running anti-virus software regularly
- Ensuring that the website has original content without any keyword stuffing
- Avoiding spam links and buying or selling of links
- Periodic review and clean up of the site to remove malicious content
- Choosing a dependable hosting package
- Updating WordPress regularly
- Using reliable WordPress plugins and themes
- Securing the wp-config.php file and the .htaccess file
- Safeguarding the login pages
- Changing the username and password on a regular basis
- Being familiar with Google’s terms and conditions
Following the best practices for WordPress customization and development is a good way to keep Google happy. At the same time, you should ensure that you are serving quality content to the users and also taking effective measures to strengthen your site’s security. After all the effort you invest in building a strong online presence for your business, this is the least that you can do to keep your website white listed.
Jitender Tanwar is a Digital Marketing Expert. He always like to research and learn new things. He is also a nature lover with keen interest in global culture and heritage.