Earlier this year, I wrote a post about setting up the Google Search Console. It’s a pretty simple thing to do that takes around 10 minutes to complete. Having this configured properly can help your search rankings as well as give you helpful information on improving your standing in Google. That’s all good and useful to any website owner, but one of the biggest, most important benefits is Security Notifications.
Kinda like a smoke detector for your website, the security notifications are Google’s way of letting you know of any issues or potential issues on your site. Things like malware, spam, and hacked content are a reality of the online world and even the best site security will eventually suffer a vulnerability. When that happens, the Google Search Console will send you a notification email letting you know what is has detected. This is one of those messages you don’t ever want to see, but it’s way better to see it this way than the dreaded Red Warning Screen (pictured to the right). When you receive a notification, it’ll have a brief description of what they have found, what it could mean if unchecked, and some links to tools or articles that may help. The message on the console itself will look similar to the one below.
Scary, yes, but again, you’d much rather see this message than have your site be completely covered over by the Red Malware warning and inaccessible to all visitors. When you receive one of these notifications, it’s important to act right away. Google will give you a little bit of time (depending on the severity of the compromise) to get it fixed, but don’t wait too long. This is a full-on “drop everything” type scenario where minutes or hours could be the difference between a smooth fix and a multi-week ball of stress for you and your business.
If you do get one of these warnings and have no idea what to do, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’d be happy to take a look and give you some guidance. If you’re really scared and don’t want to figure it out for yourself, check out the service offered by Sucuri. For $299 they will clean your site quickly and keep it cleaned and free of malware for 1 year. I have used their service before and it is great. It stinks to spend that money, but once you figure in your time dealing with any fix you perform, that $299 gets justified very quickly.