Having any breach of data or attack on your website can have wide ranging and long lasting problems.
Everything from an interruption to trading through to a breakdown of trust from customers and clients can result from a hack, but your search rankings can suffer too.
When your website is down or offline for any reason your search rankings take a hit.
This is for the same reasons that constantly updated sites with new content and dynamic elements perform better in search results: essentially, your site needs to be seen to be up and running as a going concern by a search engine’s spiders in order to get high rankings.
You can get blacklisted
Google puts usability high on its list of priorities and this means that it takes steps to protect people who are making searches from clicking on sites that have been compromised.
If Google thinks that your site is infected and may spread malware or viruses to anyone who looks at it, you run the risk of being blacklisted.
The company actually calls their process quarantining, and it means that you site will either be flagged as potentially dangerous or even removed from the search results completely.
If this happens to you it can result in a 95% loss of traffic, and it happens to an estimated 10,000 websites every day.
How to know if you’ve been hacked
A warning on Google search results that says ‘this site may harm your computer’ means that you’ve been hacked and so self-searching might be the first you hear of it.
However, if you have a Google Webmaster Tools account, Google will place an alert on it and also try to send notifications to you by email at the domains that have been affected.
You can also visit the Search Engine Ranking Report site which has a free Malware Scanner tool to check any suspicious activity. If you are worried you’ve been hacked and don’t know about it, this is a way to find out.
Above all, taking the simple steps that Google requires in order to clean up your site and verify its safety is an essential step to get back up in the rankings and offer visitors a safe browsing experience.