Finding out your site is hacked can be more than an annoying. According to new research conducted by Wordfence, a company that offers a WordPress security plugin, a hacked site can damage your search engine ranking for the long term—even after the site is cleaned up.

Here’s what else Wordfence’s survey uncovered about the damage caused by a website hack:

If Google knows your site is hacked, you will see a bigger drop in traffic

Sites that were flagged by Google as being hacked saw a 77 percent drop in traffic compared to the 45 percent average drop in traffic of hacked sites that weren’t flagged by Google.

What you can do: Check your website often. If you do get hacked, clean up the damage quickly before Google takes notice. If you don’t your site may continue to suffer from the attack.

If Google alerts you to the fact that your site has been hacked you can follow their steps to get back on your feet and then ask them to review your site. Unfortunately, the process of being reconsidered by Google can take up to a few weeks.

Even after you clean up your site, things don’t return to normal right away.

You would think that once you have cleaned up your site and secured it, things would return to normal. But the Wordfence survey found that less than half (about 40 percent) of people whose sites were hacked were able to restore their sites to normal within a day.

Since many individuals and businesses depend on their websites to generate leads, drive sales and connect with customers, this can be a real problem. Any time that your site is down can translate to lost profits and damage to your company’s reputation.

A hacked site can be expensive.

Of the hacked website victims surveyed, 14.4 percent paid a professional to return their site to normal after an attack. Also, since hacked sites can damage your search engine ranking, potential clients and customers might not be finding your site, leading to decreased sales. And you can’t forget about the cost of your own time spent dealing with a hack. Wordfence found that the average cost of a hacked site is $2,518.

What you can do to mitigate the damage caused by a website hack.

If you’ve been hacked, Wordfence has an online guide to help you clean up your hacked site and another one for returning your site to its former SEO glory.

The best way to ensure that your site doesn’t suffer long-term search engine ranking is to make sure it doesn’t get hacked in the first place. It might seem easier said than done, but the vast majority of website hacks could have been prevented. In addition to toughening up admin access and network security, make sure that you are protecting your site against common types of attacks such as cross-site scripting, distributed denial of service attacks, and leaked information. It’s also important to keep your site backed up at all times. That way if you do get hacked, you can restore your site to the most recent back up.

Wordfence has a plugin for WordPress that you can use to scan for hacked files and monitor what visitors to your site have access to. There is a free option for the plugin, but that version won’t give you access to many of the features that make the product useful.

If you don’t manage your company’s website, talk to the person who does and ask them what steps they are taking to make sure your site isn’t at risk. And regardless of whether or not you handle your own website, keep yourself in the know about what’s going on in the world of hacking. Hackers are coming up with new ways to wreak havoc all the time and if you are educated about the attacks that are happening to other companies, you will be better equipped to protect your own.


At Sting Marketing, we know the damage caused by a website hack can have direct implications for your business. That’s why we stay up to date on information about the latest ransomware, malware and internet scams. We specialize in building and re-designing websites for companies that want to improve their online visibility. Give us a call today at 602-900-8998 or book a free strategy session so we can start helping you get the results you want from your online marketing efforts.