News from Google – They will help with reinstating Search Rankings after a Hack Attack

Google will help after a Hack AttackYou may not be aware, but if your website gets hacked, it will affect your search rankings.

This is obvious when you think about it. Google’s main aim is to serve up the best results for the searcher’s query, and obviously, a hacked website is not the best result!!

Google has announced that they will endeavour to assist Webmasters with reinstating their Search Rankings after a hack attack through their revamped Reconsideration Request Process.

In a recent Google Blog Post, they say they have recorded a 180% increase in the number of websites that have been hacked this year, and there has been a 300% increase in the number of Reconsideration Requests they have received.

Google have realised the difficulties inherent in their previous Reconsideration Request process, and have made a few changes that they say will assist Webmasters getting the websites back up and running and restore their previous Search Positions.

Specifically, these three changes:

  1. Better communication
  2. Improved tools
  3. A continuous feedback loop

Google have also also said that the step up for victims of hacking is part of a wider support initiative designed to protect websites from being hacked in the first place.

Better Communication will be in the form of advice specifically tailored to your personal circumstances when responding to a Reconsideration Request. Google will also make more advice available to webmasters to help improve website security and quickly tackle hacking issues if the website is compromised.

Improved Tools will be in the form of better access to resources required to recover from a hack attack. These include the auto removal of hacked manual actions (still in beta testing). This manual action removal will take place when search engine spiders detect that hacked content has already been removed – however, the webmaster will still need to submit a reconsideration request.

A hacked website troubleshooter is also available, and will guides webmasters through the steps required to recover from the attack. The “Fetch as Google” tool can also be used by showing exactly how Google sees the site. This will make it easier for the Webmaster to detect hacked content, including injected content.

Feedback from website owners that have been hacked and who are going through the Reconsideration Request process will continue to mould Google’s practices.


Google to give preference to Encrypted websites in search results

Secure SSL and Google Search resultsWell it’s been 5 minutes since Google moved the goal posts, so I guess it’s time for them to make another change. Can you tell I am being sarcastic?

Now it seems that in an effort to make the web a more secure place, Google will favour encrypted websites (those websites with an SSL Certificate and having the https prefix) over standard non-encrypted websites.

This will place an additional cost burden on website owners, but it may or may not be a bad thing depending on your point of view.

Encouraging website owners to do this will indeed make web surfing a safer past time, but unless your website is collecting data, I don’t see that it is a real necessity.

But on the other hand, it certainly won’t hurt.

SSL Certificates

I guess it is already having the desired effect.

The impending move to penalise a websites ranking because it is unencrypted has made me purchase an SSL Certificate and install it on this very website.

Those of you who are astute may have noticed that all the pages on this website are now prefixed with https instead of http. The ‘s’ after http denotes that it is a secure connection.

It was a relatively painful exercise in the end, but it did require the Host to install it and set it up on my behalf.

So get ready boys and girls. If you don’t want your search rankings to fall, you may need to consider purchasing an SSL Certificate!!!

FYI, there are several types of SSL Certificate available. They are the Standard SSL Certificate (from $33/yr), the Premium SSL Certificate (from $75/yr), and the Wildcard SSL Certificate (from $500/yr).

Click on the links above to see pricing and to purchase one.

All SSL Certificates are 128/256 Bit Encryption, and trusted by all Browsers.

There is also a fee of $88 to set it up if you cannot do it yourself.


For the time being, Google won’t be penalising sites heavily if they don’t enable HTTPS. The company describes it as “a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content”. But once webmasters have been given time to switch their sites over, the search firm warns that “we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

Do you understand what it is you’re seeing when you do a Google search?

Quite often I find that when I am discussing Google search results with clients and the general public, they don’t realise that in most instances, the first 3 results in a Google search are “paid for advertising”.

And just as surprising is that they don’t realise that the results shown down the right hand side are also “paid for advertising”, even though they are clearly labeled as “Ads”.

The first three in particular because they have a shaded background colour making them stand out more.

Nonetheless, quite a number of you out there just don’t notice.

Take a look at the image below for the search term “website design morayfield”:

Google Search Results for website design morayfield


Arrow “1” is the actual number one ranked search result. Or in other words, it is the number 1 organic search result.

Yet it is the area indicated by Arrow “2” that most people believe are the first three organic results.

Now this can be a problem, not because advertisers get the number 1 spot, but because the bad guys can advertise here just as easily as legitimate businesses, and you can potentially be directed to something that may not be what you are searching for, or something that you may be manipulated into downloading and installing on your computer.

For example, you may be searching for “Adobe Reader”. If you don’t take note of the web address, you’ll just look at the first Advert result and assume it’s the Adobe website, and you’ll visit that website and download something that may or may not be malicious, or at least not what you were looking for.

The last Arrow, number 3, shows the other advertising that Google serves up to searchers. Again, these Ads may or may not be relevant to your search, and may or may not be relevant to you.

So just be aware of what is advertising and take note of the web address or URL and be diligent.