In today’s world, a business with an ostentatious website is deemed to be authentic. You hear about something you look it up on Google hoping to find its website. When you do, you read what the business is about and whether or not it suits your need. For businesses, it is their face. You engage with users and generate income through it. People know about you, thanks to your decorated website. So, you already know that the security of your website is of utmost importance.
The real challenge, apart from avoiding the ever-growing cybercrimes, is URL blacklisting. On security grounds, search engines and related authorities have the right to blacklist suspicious website URLs. Google is known to blacklist at least 10,000 website URLs that flout the safety rules. What does this say? That the websites aren’t safe for visitors. Google, and other authorities, do this to protect a user’s online presence.
This article will guide you on what URL Blacklist means & how to quickly fix it. You’ll know the basics of a URL blacklisting. So, let’s dive in!
What URL Blacklist Means & How to Quickly Fix it
URL blacklisting reflects badly on your business and of course, your website. So, we’ll get to know the basics and tackle the issue.
What is URL Blacklist?
In the introduction, I’ve explained the long version of URL blacklisting. To explain in brief, it is a procedure done by search engines (Google, Bing, Norton Safe Web) and other authorities (McAfee SiteAdvisor, etc) to remove/blacklist a website URL that they are suspicious of harboring malicious activities, such as spams, Trojan horses, or phishing schemes. By doing so, the said authorities or search engines stop the users from accessing that website by informing the owner of the website, thus delaying the spiteful purpose of the attacker.
How does an URL get blacklisted?
Google and other search engines have made it their purpose to offer a protected online experience to users who access websites. URL blacklisting is one of the ways how they attain their goal. They invest in the resources that help them identify websites that have malicious intent. Then, they flag such sites that are possible threats for users.
Search engines don’t want users to keep them at bay due to a few malicious websites that can harm their computers so they refrain from showing such websites in the search results at all. These authorities decide to blacklist a URL based on various factors. They include: Downloading unwanted files, spams, trojan horses, phishing, unsafe plugins, information scrapping, pharma hacks. Some of these terms might be a new term for you but in the cyberworld, they’ve existed for a long time.
If a website if diagnosed with any of the aforementioned frangibility, the user’s browser shows a security warning. The message displays that visiting the website is unsafe. You might have seen warnings such as “The site ahead contains malware. The worst part about URL blacklisting is that the owners of the websites are unaware of this fact which in turn, affects their business and reputation. I’ll guide you on how to check if your website is suffering the same fate, in the next segment.
Find if your URL in the blacklist
To know if your site is blacklisted or not, you can run a few security checks. They are fairly simple. Visit https://transparencyreport.google.com/safe-browsing/search and type your site’s URL in the Check site status box. Safe Browsing by Google shows the issue with your site and if it’s in the blacklist or not. The second option is Geekflare’s https://gf.dev/blacklist-test. Enter the URL in the box and tap on Blacklist Lookup. The third way is to check for the site’s traffic. You should notice a massive decrease in the traffic if it’s blacklisted. Google Analytics will help you check the traffic.
Its impact on Business
If your site is blacklisted, you’ll suffer in terms of reputation and revenue. Research shows that a website might lose around 95% of organic traffic that stems from the search engine. The sales will witness a direct impact. Moreover, the pesky warnings on the browsers might keep your potential users at bay since they will doubt their safety. So, in a nutshell – revenue, reputation, sale, and user experience might impact if your website is blacklisted.
Ways to avoid URL blacklisting
To avoid your website getting blacklisted, keeping an eye on its security is a must. I have listed a few ways that will help you avoid your website to be listed in the URL blacklisting.
1. Avoid mistrustful software:
The first step is to keep at bay software developed by untrusted developers. Just because you are getting software for free, doesn’t mean you should grab it and put your website’s online security in danger. A plethora of sites offer free plugins and themes but you must refrain from using these from untrusted persons or sites. If you do so, you’ll be allowing malicious activities that will take over your website.
2. Keep your website up-to-date:
As I’ve said, out of date plugins, themes or even libraries pose a threat to your website. Weak websites are easy targets for cybercriminals. Using an auto-update mechanism for your site will lower the risk.
3. Choose a dependable hosting platform:
This one is a no-brainer. You must, always, choose a hosting platform that is super secure and trustworthy. I’ve listed a few services that help you manage and fix blacklisted websites.
Astra is one of the best services that help you fight online threats and hackers without much hassle. Its mainstream feature is the 360-degree web protection from bots, hackers, spams, SQLi, etc. Users using platforms such as WordPress, OpenCart, PrestaShop, Drupal, etc, get security solutions. You’ll find over hundreds of features that ensure your site’s security.
SiteLock is a well-known web security provider. It provides automated solutions against cybersecurity that will guarantee protection against malicious activities on your website. The solutions offered by SiteLock are commendable and affordable if that’s what you are worrying about. They have automatic patching so leave your site’s security on to them.
WordPress owners, it’s time to rejoice as MalCare personally takes care of businesses operating on the platform. What MalCare does is scan the site to impair the server loads. If in case your website is blacklisted, this service ensures that everything goes back to normal by implementing collective intelligence that leverages the website’s network that detects real-time threats.
Known to be one of the most trusted and reliable security services, Sucuri has a great experience in security space. It can quickly analyze the attackers’ patterns and implement their solutions. The best part about Sucuri is that it is adept at security checks to identify spams, malware, and other malicious threats that threaten your website. It then offers methods that protect from said malicious activities.
If your site is blacklisted, it can fix it. The authorities that it fixes include Google Blacklist, Yandex, Bing Blacklisting, McAfee SiteAdvisor, Norton Safe Browsing, Phishing Tank, SpamHaus Domain Block List, AVAST, and many others.
What is the URL blacklist?
The process of removing a website’s URL with the help of search engines and other authorities from their respective index is known as URL blacklisting. The big names include Google, Bing, McAfee SiteAdvisor, Norton Safe Web, etc.
How do I remove my URL from the blacklist?
To remove any website’s URL from Google’s blacklist, you’ll need a verified Google Search account. Firstly, sign in to your account and choose ‘Manual Actions.’ If Google has sensed a security issue with your website, it will list it in the tab.
How do I know if a URL is safe?
Various services can verify if a URL is safe or no. Google Safe Browsing should be your first choice. Type http://google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site= followed by the URL of the website you’d want to check, like google.com or an IP address. The tool will let you know if the site has hosted malware in the last 90 days.
Now that you know what URL blacklist means & how to quickly fix it, use the aforementioned guidelines, and keep your website safe from the cybercrimes. Keep in mind that they are a threat to your website and in turn your business, considering your reputation and revenue. Moreover, when users visit your website and are instead greeted with stern warnings that it is unsafe, they will lose trust in your business.
People, and by people, I mean internet users and everyone in general, are getting more aware when it comes to internet security and the scams that exist. URL blacklist is a real thing and the sooner you take it seriously, the more secure your website and your business will be. Don’t think that if your site wasn’t in the URL blacklist, it won’t ever happen. So, it’s always smart to take precautions. Just follow the few steps that could avoid your website’s worst fate. Ensure that you secure your website to avoid URL blacklisting.