It’s a nightmare scenario for webmasters. You wake up one morning to an inbox full of worried users complaining that Google Chrome is showing them a big red malware warning when they try to visit your site or an email from Google itself via Webmaster Tools letting you know that they’ve identified malicious code on some of your pages.
Obviously, that can be bad for site’s reputation and it can seriously impact traffic as Google stops sending search users. But, the biggest concern is ridding the site of malware and removing the vulnerability that allowed hackers to place malicious code on the site in the first place. I’ve heard many stories of frantic webmasters trying to clean out their site, only to be told again and again that they have failed to remove the malware.
At the end of October, Google introduced a number of new features into Google Webmaster Tools that will provide webmasters with more precise and actionable information about the cause of the security warnings and expedite the process of review requests. The new Security Issues tool brings all of the important security information into one interface, providing clear pointers as to the type of hacking, URLs of the pages on which malicious code appears, and the time at which the issue was last detected by Google.
Along with the page on which the malicious code is found, the nature of the malware, and the snippets causing concern, Webmaster tools will recommend specific actions for remediation and allow webmasters to submit their site for review. Unlike previous iterations of GWT, webmasters will be able to submit all issues for reviews at once, rather than having to submit them one at a time.
In addition to measures intended to make it easier to fix problems, Security Issues will also provide preventative information, including warnings about out-of-date software versions, that will help webmasters maintain their site’s security, hopefully avoiding malware and spam problems from arising in the first place.
The changes mean that site owners will have access to far more precise information about the nature of hacks and malware infestations than ever before, which should be a relief to novice webmasters who would have previously had difficulty identifying the steps they needed to carry out to get the all-clear from Google.