Wednesday, 1 August 2012

"This Site May Be Compromised"

Google responds to hacking and malware potential problems ahead of time for search listings. 

I came up against a problem yesterday. Nothing unusual in that, problems occur every day and it wouldn't be a work-day if I wasn't scratching my head thinking, "How do I fix this??".

The SEO Problem

We host all of our own websites on a secure server. Some of the websites are built in Wordpress, some in Umbraco and others in a number of different platforms. One website we built two weeks ago and submitted to Google was now indexed on Google.

Usually, a websites being included within Google is good. Not yesterday. Underneath the listing was the words "This site may be compromised".

This had me stumped. Nobody would click on this website if they read this, I certainly wouldn't! Further investigating revealed that all of our Wordpress websites were the same.

So I read the information provided by Google, followed the processes and couldn't mind any malware or errors. Finally, I contacted Google to say I'd followed the advice but couldn't identify the problem?

Google's Response

Google replied to my Google webmaster account stating that an out of date version of Wordpress was causing me to get the message.

The version of Wordpress we were running was version 3.4.1, however a more advanced version was available. Operating from 3.4.2 would mean the message would disappear. An out dated version of Wordpress, such as 3.4.1 was susceptible to hacking and Google is protecting their users by automatically presuming the website has been hacked.

Importance of Keeping your Wordpress blog updated

It's obvious that keeping your Wordpress website updated is essential for Google. It will hurt your SEO rating of your website if you don't, plus if users can find your website they will be worried about clicking on your link with a warning underneath it!

I think it's fair to say I learned something yesterday.


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