Are you worried that your domain has been blacklisted by Google?
If your site has been marked “not safe” for visitors, it’s likely that Google has blacklisted it. This can happen if they found anything suspicious on your site such as malware or harmful code that can put their users at risk.
In this guide, we’ll help you diagnose the problem to see if your site has really been blacklisted. Then we’ll show you how to fix it as fast as possible to get your site back online.
How Do I Know if My Site has been Blacklisted by Google?
When Google blacklists a domain, you’ll see a warning on the site alerting visitors that it’s deceptive or unsafe.
There are different kinds of blacklist warnings depending on what’s happening with your site.
Here are some of those messages you may see on your domain:
- This site may harm your computer. Continue to example.com?: Google may have detected an error or suspicious scripts on your site, but lets the user decide whether they want to proceed anyway.
- Deceptive site ahead: Your site may be trying to steal information from visitors. Such sites are tagged as phishing or spoofed sites where the visitor is tricked into disclosing their information such as usernames, passwords, and even payment details.
- The site ahead contains malware: Your site has malware such as a virus or adware that could infect the user’s device.
- The site ahead contains harmful programs: There’s likely malware on your site that is targeting a visitor’s browser. Your site could be redirecting visitors to malicious sites, installing harmful browser add-ons, or forcefully changing the default browser to a malicious one.
- This page is trying to load scripts from unauthenticated sources: This warning is displayed as a result of invalid SSL certificate. It means your site claims to be secured by SSL but is loading content from a non-SSL website.
These warnings can help you determine what’s happening to your site. You may see other warnings that aren’t mentioned here but in almost all cases, it usually is because your website is hacked.
So why does Google blacklist your site?
Well, Google prioritizes the safety and experience of their users. First, they regularly crawl your site to check for new or refreshed content. This data is then indexed in Google databases and your website shows up in relevant search results pages.
This process helps make sure the user is receiving the most relevant results
While crawling your site, if Google finds that it’s deceptive or unsafe for their users, they blacklist it. For instance, Google flags software that switches the homepage or changes browser settings to ones the visitor doesn’t want or apps that leak private and personal information without informing the user.
Now that you’re sure your site has been blacklisted, let’s show you how to fix it.
How to Remove Google Blacklist on My Domain
Since your domain can be blacklisted for different reasons, you need to diagnose the reason so that you can take the right steps to fix it.
SSL Issues: If your SSL is not configured properly, you may see warnings like “This site is not secure”, you’ll need to check your SSL settings and make sure your SSL certificate is valid.
If it has expired, then you need to get a new SSL certificate and install it on your site. If you need help with this contact your web host or follow our guide: 8 Best Websites to Buy SSL Certificates.
You may also be using third-party images that are loading from a non-SSL website. In this case, you’ll want to use different images. You could upload them to your own website to solve this problem.
Harmful Programs: If you’re sharing software that doesn’t meet Google’s standards, you’ll likely get blacklisted. We recommend reading Google’s Unwanted Software Policy to understand this better.
Basically, Google doesn’t allow websites to trick users into installing harmful or deceptive programs. Your site also shouldn’t piggyback on the installation of another program. Also, you need to make it easy for users to install and remove any software they may download from your site.
On a similar note, you also need to be transparent if you collect or transmit private information without the user’s knowledge.
Malware: This is the most common reason why websites get blacklisted. If a hacker has hijacked your site, it could be infected with malicious code. This could be harmful to anyone who tries to access it.
They could be redirected to fraudulent websites or tricked into downloading malware. There’s a lot that could go wrong.
We’ll show you how to scan your website and remove any malware on your site.
Step 1: Scan Your Site For Malware
If you suspect your site is infected with malware, you need to use a robust security scanner.
There are plenty of free online web scanners that you can use but most hackers know how to bypass these tools. So you may see that your website is clean when it’s actually hacked.
To get a true picture of your site, we recommend using Sucuri.
There’s a free Sucuri Scanner you can use to check your site’s status. Again, this is a scan from the outside so there are certain files and folders Sucuri won’t be able to check.
If you’re serious about cleaning your site, then you need to sign up for a paid plan. These start at $199.99 per year and you’ll get access to the powerful firewall, malware scanner, and malware cleanups. It also comes with a ton of other features that your site will benefit from.
If this is out of budget, you might want to check out more security options: 9 Best Security Plugins Compared.
For this tutorial, we’ll show you how to scan and clean your site with Sucuri. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll get access to Sucuri’s dashboard. The first thing you need to do here is add your website using the ‘Add Site’ button.
You’ll see a popup asking you to enter your FTP details to connect to your site. This gives Sucuri access to the inner workings of your site. If you don’t know these details, you can ask your web host and they’ll give it to you.
After this, Sucuri will automatically run a deep scan and display the status of your site.
You can check this status under the ‘My Sites’ tab. If your site is infected, you’ll see a warning message like this:
To know more about the infection, there’s a ‘Details’ button right next to the warning. This takes you to the Monitoring page where you can see details of the malware infection.
You’ll see what kind of malware it’s found and how serious the risk is. You can also see if your site has any outdated software that could be the source of infection.
Now that you know your site is infected, you can go ahead with cleaning up the hack.
Step 2: Clean any Malware on Your Site
With Sucuri, if your site is infected, you can clean it up right away.
First, you’ll need to click on the ‘Clean Up My Site’ button.
This will open a page where you can create a malware removal request. You can use the ‘New Malware Removal Request”‘ button to get started. A popup form will appear where you can enter your site’s details.
If you don’t know your site’s details here, the best thing to do is contact your web host and ask them for it.
Once you submit the form, Sucuri will take up your request and clean your website.
Sucuri will prioritize your cleanup request based on which plan you selected.
For the Business plan, Sucuri prioritizes your request and cleans your site within 6 hours. For other plans, the time taken is based on how complex your site’s infection is and the volume of requests they have in queue.
Step 3: Submit your Site for Google Review
After Sucuri rids your site of malware, we recommend running a fresh scan to make sure your site is really clean.
Now that you’re sure your site is back to normal, you can ask Google to review it.
First, you’ll need to have a Google Search Console account.
If you don’t have one, you can sign up now on Google Search Central.
Inside the Google Search Console dashboard, go to the Security Issues tab from the menu on the left.
You’ll see if Google has flagged security issues on your site. Simply click on the ‘Request Review’ button.
Now you need to add details about what measures you’ve taken to clean your site.
You can tell them that you used Sucuri to clean your site and upload a screenshot of the latest malware scan of your website that shows your website is clean.
When you’re ready, submit your request to Google. It can take a few days for it to be verified.
Once Google sees that your site is safe, they’ll whitelist it and remove the warning displayed on your site.
Now we know this whole process hasn’t been easy. It takes a lot to recover from a hack, so the best thing to do is prevent it as best you can.
How to Prevent Google Domain Blacklisting
Websites that get hacked tend to get hacked over and over again. This is because the site owner fails to clean up the site properly. They leave vulnerabilities and backdoors that hackers can keep using to gain entry to the site.
If your site is hacked repeatedly, Google will blacklist your site again. And what’s worse is that they’ll think you don’t take website security seriously.
This will make the review request process much harder. Added to this, your web host will also notice malicious activity. They can suspend your account to protect its servers.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure your site is sealed tight at all times.
If you’ve signed up for Sucuri’s security solution, your site will be scanned regularly but there are a few more steps you can take.
First, you can turn on the firewall to block hackers and any hacker from accessing your site.
To do this, navigate to Firewall » Settings and follow the instructions given to enable the firewall on your site.
Aside from having a security scanner and firewall active on your site at all times, here are a few more measures we recommend for every website owner:
- Backup your website: A backup acts as a safety net. In case something goes wrong, you can restore your site. You can use Duplicator to backup your site.
- Use secure forms on your site: Hackers try to use forms as an entry point as they can submit code through the input fields. We recommend using WPForms as it comes with built-in spam protection. This detects and blocks fraudulent and malicious entries.
- Use a secure hosting provider: If your web host doesn’t secure its servers properly, hackers can find a way in. It’s best to use a reliable host that takes security seriously like Bluehost, Hostinger, or SiteGround.
With these measures in place, you’ll have a robust security and backup system for your website.
We hope you found this article helpful in removing Google’s blacklist on your site. Next, you may also want to read:
- What is Domain Squatting? (And How to Stop It)
- What Is Private Domain Registration? (Pros & Cons Explained)
- How to Recover a Stolen Domain and Prevent Domain Hijacking
These guides will help you protect your domain from other mishaps such as domain hijacking and domain squatting.