Website Blacklist In SERPs | Removal Review Request Steps

The internet is broken — it has been for a while — in various ways such that a Website Blacklist In SERPs like Google can occur to anyone. Even the fathers of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf say that it’s broken. We realize you are probably reading this on the internet, and it seems to be working just fine. So, how exactly is the internet broken?

Just imagine a world where people don’t have property rights. In this world, you cannot own a house, and all your belongings are kept in a storage facility owned by a few corporations. And in this world, walking into any store or theater implies that you disclose all your personal information, places you’ve been, and other things you’ve bought to the business owners.

Meaning, that you are tracked 24/7, your belongings are stolen from storage facilities, and you can’t do anything about it. Most of us would not stand for this in our real, everyday lives. But, on the internet, we tolerate and even expect it. We become dependent on nameless, faceless, remote parties just by connecting. For sure, in the internet world, we are all powerless!

Our existence on the internet is defined by others, whether that other be a mega-corporation or a government. For this reason, this is where the likes of Google Blacklist in its SERP kick in as you’ll learn in this exclusive guideline. 

What Website Blacklist In SERPs Is All About

Website Blacklist In SERPs is a database set that maintains websites containing flagged content seen as unsafe for its web users, other search engines, or security companies as well. Perse, these websites may host malware, phishing attacks, spam ware, etc. And as a result, in order to protect web users, these SERPs will blacklist/blocklist/denylist such websites.

Whenever Google finds malicious website content or files that might compromise a visitor’s security, it starts showing the =blacklist warning immediately. Visitors are cautioned with a Google warning message upon visiting the website, which says something like:– ‘Deceptive Site Ahead’, ‘This Website Contains Malware’, ‘This Website Has Been Hacked’, etc.

Website owners are notified too through an email or as a search console message in Google’s webmaster panel. Ultimately, as we know, Google is the most popular search engine out there. People make millions of queries every day on Google to find out answers to their questions. It indexes thousands of web pages and returns the relevant pages based on the query.

Eventually, Google has the onus to protect its users from landing on suspicious pages. Particularly, by identifying and blocking malicious pages beforehand. For this, Google regularly scans all web pages for malware, deceptive content, redirecting links, marketing campaign ads, and so on.

What Happens After Google Blacklists Your Website

If a Google evaluation determines that your site was hacked, or that it exhibits behavior that could potentially harm a visitor or their computer, the Security Issues report will show Google’s findings. Examples of harmful behavior include phishing attacks or installing malware or unwanted software on the user’s computer. Do I have security issues on my website?

So, are your website’s search results carrying a warning that your website may be suspicious? What is the bad news ahead? As aforementioned, this means, that your website has been subjected to a Google blacklist. Sites that are hacked or affected by malware often carry these warnings to protect users. Pages or sites with a security issue can appear with a warning label.

Especially, in the autonomous search engine results of SERPs like Google, Bing, Yandex, AOL, DuckDuckGo, etc. Or rather, they may also showcase an interstitial warning page in the browser when a user tries to visit them. This, however, can affect your reputation. Overall, the most common security issues reported often fall into three major categories.

The main security issues include:

  • Hacked content: This is any content placed on your site without your permission because of security vulnerabilities in your site. In order to protect our users, Google tries its best to keep hacked content out of our search results. Learn more.
  • Malware and unwanted software: This is software that is designed to harm a device or its users, that engages in deceptive or unexpected practices, or that negatively affects the user. Malware can be either installed by a hacker or the site owner. Learn more.
  • Social engineering: This is content that tricks visitors into doing something dangerous, such as revealing confidential information or downloading software. Learn more.

That said, let’s now find out more about why you may have been blacklisted by Google. As well as the best ways and methods to remove your site from it, so read on. When Google blacklists a website, usually two things happen. First, the website/webpages are taken off the index list. So, if your website has been blacklisted, it means your website will not appear on Google.

Secondly, a warning message is displayed on the website to discourage people from visiting it. Furthermore, Google also removes malicious web pages from the top pages to avoid people clicking on them. This would mean your website may lose all its organic traffic from Google if it’s blacklisted. What if you run a business and Google traffic is your main source of lead prospects?

Related Resource: Search Engine Results Page | How To Rank Site High On SERPs

Well, it means that either/both your sales and revenue may take a hit too. Quite often, as the webmasters we are, we’ve seen that Google blacklists a website as the last resort. The website is usually infected for weeks. After which Google picks up the malicious code on your website, leading to blacklisting it. In addition to the website being blacklisted by Google, there’s more.

Whereby, we’ve seen there are other engines too where your website could be blacklisted. Including but not limited to blacklisting from the likes of McAffee, Virustotal, AVG, Avast, etc.

The Most Common Website Blacklisting Indicators/Signs/Causes

Usually, website authorities like Google, Bing, and McAfee SiteAdvisor monitor sites that appear on their results page to detect the presence of any malware. This includes trojan horses, pharma hacks, SEO spam, phishing schemes, etc. Search engines, in their best interests, target such infected sites and refuse to let them be displayed or accessed by visitors.

Whilst, wishing to protect their integrity and trustworthiness. In most situations, website owners are not aware of being hacked until they realize they have been placed on the blacklist of authorities like Google. What is some common website blacklist in SERPs key signs or symptoms one should look out for? More so, to understand if you’ve been blacklisted by Google?

To begin with, on one hand, if you have security issues, you’ll see a count of all security issues on your site at the top of the report. While, on the other hand, if your site has no security issues, you’ll see a green check mark and an appropriate message. To see your website status, all you’ll need to do is to expand the issue description tab/bar to see a list of sample affected URLs.

However, this list is not always necessarily complete. But rather, it’s just a sample of web pages on your site affected by the selected issue. Occasionally, you might have a security issue with no example URLs. Unfortunately, this does not mean that no pages are affected, only that Google could not generate samples for some reason.

The most common indicators include: 
  • On visiting the site, you get blocked by a big warning screen.
  • There are external links with search engine optimization (SEO) spam keywords that, on clicking, will redirect one to search engine result pages (SERP).
  • There are unexpected and suspicious changes to your website database files or the appearance of new ones with malicious content.
  • Your antivirus blocks a portion of the entire website when you visit it.
  • You may come across messages such as ‘This site may be hacked’ on your search engine results.
  • Your hosting server suspends your account without warning and disables it until the hacked content gets cleaned out and the website is re-submitted for verification.

Note, that the issue details show the date that the issue was first detected on your site. As well as a brief description and a link to learn more about the issue. There are different categories for consideration when a website is blacklisted – some may be pushed to the list for containing spam. While others have malware content and yet others provide external links.

Links that lead to phishing scams, compromise visitors’ data privacy and security. These are some sort of situations when a site is usually pushed into the blacklist, which requires comprehensive and precise steps to renew its reputation. Below are some of the most common causes of getting blacklisted by Google that you need to know:

1. Intrusive Malware Software

This website blacklist in SERPs case means that your site has been infected by or is hosting, malware from a malicious hacker. Malware is any software or mobile application specifically designed to harm a computer, a mobile device, the software it runs, or its users. You can read more about malware in detail. Google may blacklist your website when it suspects that your website is being used to spread malware.

The pages on your site that have been hacked may automatically download malware when visited – which can alert Google to the fact that your website might be the target of a pervasive malware campaign. Therefore, to keep users safe, their browsers might display a warning when they visit your site, typically a message or a red screen containing the keyword ‘malware’ on Chrome.

Some browsers may display different warnings such as this site may be hacked,  this site may harm your computer, deceptive site ahead, etc. If your website shows such a warning, it might be a good idea to start working on Google blacklist removal.

2. Phishing Plus Code Injection

If your website has been labeled deceptive or fake, it might be due to your site being on Google’s phishing list. Your website may have been modified to collect user info and send it to other servers controlled by hackers. These modified pages might ask users for sensitive info, and users who provide this information may themselves be attacked.

This can decrease the users’ trust in your website and affect your reputation. On the same note, you can learn more about how to remove deceptive site ahead warning signs in detail also. As for code injection, a hacker has taken over your site and is injecting malicious code into your pages. Examples include redirects to a malicious site or running cryptocurrency mining software on your browser while the page is open.

3. URL Injection Plus Deceptive Pages

This website blacklist in SERPs case is where a hacker creates new pages on your website, often containing spammy words or links. Sometimes these new pages contain code that does things you didn’t intend. Such as redirecting your users to other sites or making your webserver participate in a denial-of-service attack against other sites.

Because malware often spreads by exploiting browser vulnerabilities, opening an infected malware page in a browser may damage your computer. Additionally, hackers might hide spammy content using cloaking techniques to avoid detection by site owners. What about deceptive pages?

Well, this is where your website includes content that tricks visitors into doing something dangerous. Such as revealing confidential information or downloading software. Google Safe Browsing protects web users by warning them before they visit pages that consistently display deceptive content.

Web pages are considered deceptive when they either:
  • Pretend to act, or look and feel, like a trusted entity, like your own device or browser, or the website itself, or
  • Try to trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity, like sharing a password, calling a tech support number, or downloading software.

Basically, this type of deceptive content is called social engineering. That said, you can learn more about social engineering or see examples of deceptive pages in detail.

4. Black Hat SEO Plus Deceptive Embedded Resources

Forthwith, this website blacklist in SERPs case means that you’re using Black hat SEO techniques. Such as cloaking, scraping websites, and buying links for your website, Google may have blacklisted you. These techniques are unethical as they give websites an unfair advantage, so Google keeps a lookout for sites using such techniques.

Sometimes, your website may include deceptive advertisements or embedded resources that trick visitors into doing something dangerous. Such as revealing confidential information or downloading unwanted software. Deceptive content may be included via resources embedded in the page.

Including but not limited to images, other third-party components, or ads. Luckily, Google Safe Browsing already protects web users by warning them before they visit pages that consistently display deceptive content.

Usually, this content is visible to users on the host page. While, in other cases, the host website does not contain any visible ads but leads users to bad pages. Either through pop-ups, pop-unders, or other types of redirection. In all cases, this type of embedded content will result in a policy violation for the host page.

5. Harmful Downloads Plus Download Links

Obviously, this website blacklist in SERPs case means that your website is offering users a download that Google Safe Browsing thinks is either malware or unwanted software. The Chrome browser may show a warning when a user visits your site. You must remove these downloads from your site to remove the warning. You should always ensure that your site conforms to the Unwanted Software Policy.

Equally important, your website may also be linking to sites that offer downloads that are either malware or unwanted software, according to Google Safe Browsing. The Chrome browser may show a warning when a user visits your site. You must remove links to harmful sites to remove the warning.

You can review some of the example pages on your site to confirm the presence of these downloads. Although, in some cases, hackers can hide these links if they think you are the site owner. So, try visiting the sample URLs with the URL Inspection Tool, or logging in with a different account or on another computer.

How To Remove Your Website From A Google Blacklist

Before we learn how to solve any given website blacklist in SERPs issue, it’s important to realize, that your website may also allow something like unclear mobile billing. Thus, Google will detect that your site is not sufficiently informing users about mobile charges. Meaning, that Google Chrome Browsers may start displaying a warning before the user loads a page that incurs charges.

In this case, you can visit the example URLs listed in the report to see which pages have unclear mobile billing behavior. Or rather, review the mobile billing guidelines first in order to learn more. Then, thereafter, you can fix your pages so they conform to the mobile billing best practices in regard to overall User Experience (UX) for your target customers.

If you have identified that your website has been blacklisted by Google, we (you and Google) need to work on removing it. There is a step-by-step guide to removing your website blacklist in SERPs indication from the likes of Google browser and search results.

Consider the following:
  1. First, start checking for Infection
  2. Secondly, start cleaning the Infections/Malware
  3. Thirdly, you can ask Google for Blacklist Removal Review
  4. Last but not least, make sure that you remove your site’s IP from Spam Lists

Check For Infection

A good place to begin checking is to look at the Google Search Console, which will show why your website was blacklisted – it may be due to viruses, SQL injection, a spam link injection, etc. Once you have identified the reason, you can take steps to rectify the issue depending on the exact issue flagged by Google.

Keep in mind, that your infected site may have been used for a spam campaign – a few groups that look out for domain spamming users could have put your website on their list. There are services available that help you look through such lists. Different lists have different procedures to remove your site’s IP from the list. The Internet can be of great help with this.

Clean Any Infections

Here are a few steps to begin cleaning the infections you may have found in the previous step. A word of caution – be careful in executing these steps and removing the loopholes, if any.

  • Review the unfamiliar modifications on your website and remove them manually.
  • There are certain files that hackers prefer infecting for their importance. Trying to find malware in these locations will be a good start:
    • Index file of the website (index.php in most cases). Within this file, start by checking the header and footer sections for unrecognizable code or gibberish text.
    • .htaccess file is often used by hackers to redirect your visitors to malicious websites which are often picked up by search engines resulting the Google’s blacklist.
    • functions & wp-config files are worth checking considering their super important files containing sensitive information (if you’re using WordPress).
  • Checking key database tables also helps. Hackers often inject malicious scripts into databases by exploiting vulnerabilities causing remote code execution and SQL injection. A few examples of key database tables would be tables containing your articles (wp-posts), user information, and form data. Basically, data tables that are linked to various website inputs should be checked for malicious code insertions.
  • Disable plugins that have been de-activated but are still installed
  • Check for new admin(s) added. Then, remove them manually and reset all passwords and usernames.
  • Clean the tables of the infected database manually.
  • Enable two-way authentication for the users.
  • Check the addition of any unverified users and remove them.

That said and done, you can then submit your website for a malware review to Google. However, it may take some time for Google to review your website — ranging from a few hours to a day(s) or a week(s).

Other malware removal guides:
  • WordPress Malware Removal
  • Joomla Malware Removal
  • Magento Malware Removal
  • OpenCart Malware Removal
  • Prestashop Malware Removal
  • PHP Malware Removal

With that in mind, let’s now have a look at the simple steps you can follow in order to ask Google for your website review for its removal from its SERP blacklist.

The steps to submit your site for a review are:
  1. Go to the Security Issues Tab.  This is to review the issues Google has found.
  2. Then select “I have fixed these issues”.
  3. Now, click on “Request a Review”.
  4. Type the steps you took to remove malware from your website from the Google main blacklist/blocklist/denylist.
    • NB: Make sure you give detailed information!
  5. Lastly, click the Manual Actions section.

In case there are multiple issues, continue to follow the above steps until all of them have been resolved.

How long will my reconsideration review take?

Most reconsideration reviews can take several days or weeks, although in some cases, such as link-related reconsideration requests, it may take longer than usual to review your request. You will be informed by email when we receive your request, so you’ll know it is active. You will also receive an email when the review is complete.

The Manual Actions report lists issues with a page or site that are mostly attempting to manipulate our search index but are not necessarily dangerous for users. Most issues reported here will result in pages or sites being ranked lower or omitted from search results without any visual indication to the user.

The Security Issues report lists indications that your site was hacked, or behavior on your site that could potentially harm a visitor or their computer: for example, phishing attacks or installing malware or unwanted software on the user’s computer. These pages can appear with a warning label in search results, or a browser can display an interstitial warning page when a user tries to visit them.

Please don’t resubmit your request before you get a decision on any outstanding requests. Submitting a reconsideration request when the issue hasn’t been fixed can cause a longer turnaround time for the next request, or even get you marked as a repeat offender.

How To Prevent Being Blacklisted By Google In The Future

Malware is always changing and can affect your website and even your reputation. On one hand, removing your website from the blacklist is one part. While, on the other hand, ensuring you never get blacklisted again requires something more permanent – like Astra Website Protection. Ultimately, a good practice is to keep updating the software regularly.

This is the best precaution you can take as a webmaster, and the most basic step toward securing your website.

1. Work Alongside Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great way to know about your website. It gives you a comprehensive view of how your website works regarding internet traffic. It can also help you identify suspicious activity and provide you with insight as to whether your site may be affected by malware.

2. Use White Hat SEO Techniques

If you’re using black hat SEO techniques, you might want to reconsider that! They have a high likelihood of getting you blacklisted by Google. Instead, here are a few positive techniques to make your website awesome:

  • Spruce up the content on your website which makes users spend more time.
  • Make your website secure.
  • Pay attention to what users are looking for on your website.
  • When blacklisted, the quicker you act, the more damage you control.

3. Follow Good Security Practices

You can follow our comprehensive security guides as per your CMSs to secure them in real time from attacks.

  • WordPress Security
  • Joomla Security
  • Magento Security
  • PrestaShop Security
  • OpenCart Security

4. Name Your eStore Products Data/Metadata Properly

Every now and then it’s important to get back to basics and ask a question that seems obvious — because sometimes those questions have hidden depths. The question “What Is Product Data?” is one of those I recently asked myself, and it led me down a mini-rabbit hole. When you think about it, that covers a lot of ground. By definition, a product can be almost anything.

Anything that you can imagine — from any item on the supermarket shelf to an eBook, a house, or even just a theory. In other words, a product is a physical or digital good, which has the attributes of existing, having a name, and being tradable. Beyond that, all bets are off! So to frame that in the context of data, the universal attributes of a product are data attributes.

These are things like Product Identifiers and Product Pricing options. But there is, obviously, more to most product data than that. Having said that, you should come up with a strategic product naming plan that provides additional fields in your storefront product data. Including clear product details, global identifier values/metadata/metabox, and additional product info.

  • GTIN
  • GTIN-8
  • ISBN
  • GTIN-12
  • EAN
  • GTIN-13
  • UPC
  • GTIN-14
  • MPN

For your information, all the above/among other product global identifier values are searchable from both the front-end and back-end admin pages in WordPress. Surprisingly, even though we were able to successfully submit a removal request to Google, one of our site design customers (Medir Instruments) recently had this particular issue.

And, that’s by not naming their web store products properly/correctly/rightly in accordance with the standard Google guidelines. In most cases, this can occur for most WordPress site owners. Perse, if they are using plugin toolkits such as WooCommerce or BigCommerce to build/design their storefront. So how do you define product attributes or useful taxonomies?

Some Approaches:
  1. Product Schema
  2. AI Product Data
  3. Product Meta Data

Getting further down the rabbit hole of product semantics, data, knowledge graphs, Google product feeds and all the other many directions can equally answer the above question for you. All that it can take you it’s time to stop and reconsider the original question. So, in nutshell, your product data is all the information about a specific storefront product information.

Something that can be read, measured, and structured into a usable format. There is no universal fixed schema that can cover all aspects of all products, but there are tools that can help you extract a product’s data and create dynamic definitions for you. Always remember, that no two products are the same, so we treat both the product and its data as individual items.

And, as such, we usually don’t put them into premade boxes. Instead, we understand that there are many data points shared between products, and there are more that are not. That said, as an individual or team interested in product data, the best thing you can do is use Diffbot’s AI to build datasets for you. With all the information, and then choose only the data you need.

5. Consider Website Security Audit

The importance of website security is increasing rapidly — it’s of utmost importance today, and your website blacklist in SERPs is more likely to happen if it isn’t very secure. This means that going for a Website Security audit is a good idea — expert opinion can help take your website’s security from good to excellent! By some estimates, about 40K website hack occurs daily.

And the numbers are just growing daily. That’s why being secure in the online world becomes more and more important every day. As an example, implementing spam filtering is extremely important for any online-based web organization. Not only does spam filtering help keep garbage out of email inboxes, but it also helps with the quality of life of business emails.

Simply, because they run smoothly and are only used for their desired purpose. Likewise, since email is commonly used as a way to exploit users and their data, spam filtering has grown in importance and relevance. Therefore, organizations must utilize one spam filter or the other. In order to reduce the risk of users clicking on something, they shouldn’t.

And then, in turn, keeping their internal data shielded from a cyber attack. In short, it’s very important and vital to protect your website and the data it holds now. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a very critical situation just by ignoring the key rules of website security for that matter. Learn more about the benefits of website security and how to do it right in detail.

6. Integrate Various Security Measures

It can be quite a tedious task to look out for malware on your website round the clock, but there are security solutions like Astra which could help keep an eye on your website and protect it from hackers and malware. This will prevent Google from blacklisting your website now and in the future. Technically, website security is important to both owners and users.

Because nobody wants to have a hacking experience on their website — most web users don’t also want to associate with such websites as well. In short, having a secure website is as vital to someone’s online presence as having a website host. If a hack occurs and it leads to a website blacklist in SERPs, it’s bad news! For example, it loses up to 98% of its traffic.

Takeaway Notes: 

Whenever there is a website blacklist in SERPs indication, Google SafeBrowsing displays warnings to users based on the browsing context. Therefore you may or may not be able to reproduce the warnings. However, you should rely on the Security Issues report as the source of truth. Particularly, to verify whether any security issues exist for your site, or if their fixation is in effect.

All you need to do is expand an issue description to see a list of sample-affected URLs. This list is not necessarily complete, but just a sample of pages on your site affected by the selected issue. Occasionally, you might have a security issue with no example URLs; this does not mean that no pages have issues.

Only Google could not generate samples for some reason. The issue details show the date that the issue was first detected on your website. As well as a brief description and a link to learn more about the issue. Most reconsideration reviews can take several days or weeks, in some cases.

As link-related reconsideration requests may take longer than usual to review your request. You will see all details by email when Google receives your request. So that you’ll know it is active. You’ll also receive an email when the review is complete. That’s it! Everything to know about the main website blacklist in SERPs causes and some best fixing methods.

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