The Tale of a Server Hack, Followed By Google Ban: Stages

Jan 14, 2009 • 7:48 am | comments (0) by | Filed Under Other Google Topics

A senior member at WebmasterWorld who started posting in 2004, had his server hacked into. He realized this when Google put a temporary ban on his site from showing up in the Google search results. Google does this, because they want to protect searchers from landing on pages that might contain malware or other infectious programs.

The thread goes through the different stages a webmaster goes through when finding out their site has been hacked into. The stages would likely include:

  • Confusion/Denial
  • Anger
  • Acceptance
  • Guilt
  • Action
  • Embarrassment
  • Reconsideration
  • Response

I am not exactly sure if the stages would be in that order. But as you can see from the thread, it seems this webmaster went through some, if not all, of these stages. Confusion sets in when you learn that you may have been hacked, and you try to figure out how and what the implications are. Then you get angry at both the hacker for hacking you and Google for delisting you. Acceptance rolls in, when you accept the facts and decide to move on. Of course, many feel guilty that they were not able to prevent the hack in the first place. But you decide to take action to remove the bad stuff the hack generated. Then you immediately file a reconsideration request with Google. Then you look into the future and make changes to your current process and environment, to try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

This webmaster's site was delisted for "maybe 1-2 business days" said the webmaster. That is a very quick response time from Google acting on the reconsideration request. When I shared a story about one of my client's getting hacked and delist, Jennifer Convertibles Web Site Hacked & Delisted In, it also took just about two days for Google to reinclude the site.

Google has to protect the searcher at all costs. Even if the site is not infected with malware, it may be infected with links to help promote a page that does have malware on it. So it has to take action, and action quickly.

This goes well with Preventing Virtual Blight Video by Matt Cutts from the other day.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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