Site Hacked? There's a Google Help Center for That
So your web site has been hacked - happens to the best of us, really. What's the next step? Freak out, give up on your website, or possibly beg the hackers for mercy? The answer - none of the above.
Your first step, at least according to the world's biggest search engine, should be to visit the new Google Help Center that specifically caters to web site owners who have had their prized possessions so maliciously tampered with. News of the new information center comes courtesy of a fresh blog post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog by program developer Maile Ohye.
If your web site ever falls victim to the unscrupulous scheme of being hacked, the new Google Help Center should indeed be among one of the first steps you take in assessing and repairing the damage to your web site.
The Whole Recovery Process, Step by Step
The new Google Help Center focuses on what to do if you've been hacked, as well as steps you can take to prevent your site from getting hacked to begin with. It's certainly in Google's best interest to minimize hacking since hacked sites are flagged in Google's SERPs. When the site is fixed, the flag is removed from the link, making it something people will actually want to click on once again.
Google has been informing site owners that their sites have been hacked for a while, but only now are they beginning to tell site owners how to fix the problem.
The meat of the Help Center is a series of videos that explain how and why shady entities hack websites, as well as how to detect spam techniques and prevent them from affecting your site. Plenty of articles are provided as well, though the videos should answer most of your surface-level questions about hacking.
Advanced Users Only?
Ms. Ohye cautions that "each task remains fairly difficult for site owners unless they have advanced knowledge of system administrator commands and experience with source code." Don't let that scare you. Going through the new Google Help Center will improve your understanding of how and why your site was hacked and outline the general process of how to get it fixed, even if you end up needing help with the most technical details.
Each step of the recovery process is affixed with a label indicating the level of technical expertise required. Things like contacting your site host are considered "beginner," while quarantining your site and communicating with Google Webmaster Tools are categorized as "intermediate." Steps such as as assessing the damage, identifying vulnerabilities and maintaining your site are "advanced."
Still, as mentioned, you can browse your way through all eight steps of the recovery process and probably greatly improve your understanding of website security - crucial knowledge for any site owner worth his or her salt.