Google’s John Mueller has shared SEO best practices for cleaning and recovering before hacking the site.
Mueller gave this advice on Reddit in response to a thread from a site owner dealing with thousands of hacker-in-injection web pages.
The site owner begins by asking if it is the best of the 404 or 410 hacked pages, to which Mueller answers: “It does not matter. The separation is mostly theoretical. “
In a follow-up comment the site owner asks if there is anything else they should do. They say that they are working with a small commercial website with less than 20 pages.
Thousands of pages were added to the site by a hacker who has since 410’d. The site’s ranking has not reborn since removing the hacked pages.
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Here’s what Müller advised.
Mueller on recovering from a site hack
As a first step in recovering from hacker’s injected pages, Müller recommends using a URL removal tool because it will quickly hide pages in search results.
Pages will drop out of Google’s index when the site is re-crawled, and Mueller says that search results should quickly return to normal.
Depending on the damage caused during the hack, and how long the site was hacked, it may take several months to recover.
“URL removal tools will hide them in search results, which is a good first step. They will come back over time and drop out of the index (404 or 410 doesn’t really matter), and usually the search results for the rest of the site generally return very quickly (although this is certainly something It can take months for things to really settle back down, depending on how and for how long the site was hacked). “
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Muller says that if any existing pages have been hacked, they should be dealt with in advance. These URLs can be refreshed quickly by manually submitting them.
Site hacks can sometimes exacerbate current issues on a site, Mueller says, which may cause Google to rethink how the site should appear in search.
Those issues may prevent the site from performing a full recovery in search results. While cleaning the site hack it tries to improve the quality of the site at the same time.
“… If a site already has difficulties, sometimes being hacked inevitably requires our system to rethink how the site should appear in search. If you suspect it might be in that direction, by all means still clean up the problem with the hack, but spend most of your time focusing on the overall improvement of the site, rather than trying to remove all the miniscule traces of the hack Do it “
Finally, Mueller states that the marks of a hack will clear over time as improvements are made to the site.