I recently had a friend message me stating that he was getting notices from other bloggers that his site was marked as spam or malicious. Although Google Webmaster Tools stated his site was clean, another site said something entirely different. This is directly affecting not only potential traffic to his site but also his relationship with other bloggers, and he was losing his online reputation and money. This is definitely not something you want to happen to you! Check out these free online tools to see if your site has been flagged as spam or malicious and how to fix them.
What Causes a Website to be Flagged as Spam or Malicious?
First, its important to figure out why your site could potentially be flagged as Spam or Malicious. You should take this very seriously due to the fact you could get de-indexed by Google, or just as bad be shut down by your web host if you don’t address the issue quickly!
Your site could be marked as Spam for many reasons. Below are some of the ways your site could get marked as Spam
Google could state your content is considered as Spam – meaning it is considered worthless by Google. With the recent Penguin updates this means that you will be lucky if ANY of your content shows up in the search results. You will have to re-work your content, keep working on your social media and hopefully be able to turn it around and have Google take another look at your site.
Someone is Using Your Domain as a Spam Box.
They are ‘spoofing’ your domain and sending out thousands of junk email. This could get your entire domain flagged as spam and is a pain to correct. It is important that you work with a reputable hosting company that protects you from this. I’ve seen this happen mainly with companies who have poorly implemented security on their email servers.
If Your On A Shared Host
The issue with being on a huge web hosting company and having a shared web hosting plan on places like Blue Host, Host Gator, and Go Daddy – is that your site is most likely you are sharing the same IP with a lot of other websites. The issue is is if even one of those sites is getting flagged for spam practices – companies and other sites could block the IP Address and you could get directly impacted!
If you want to avoid this type of potential threat? You would have to pay the hosting service to give you your own IP address. And that costs additional money. Of course if you using a large web host? You are pretty safe from this type of threat.
What this means is that your site is potentially infected with Spyware, Malware or a Virus. This could be caused by anything from a hacker injecting bad code onto your site, a faulty plugin causing the warning, or you haven’t kept your site updated to the recent version released by WordPress.org.
If any of the above is happening to you? You will need to work directly with your Web Host, your site administrator/webmaster, and whoever is blocking your sites. This is by no means a complete list of what could happen to your site. It is just to highlight why you want to use the list below to prevent it from happening to begin with!
Online Free Scanners to See if Your Website has been Flagged as Spam or Malicious
Of course the first place you want to check to see if your site has been flagged is with Google. If they do mark your site as either Spam or Malicious – you will want to fix whatever they find quick to prevent from being de-indexed from them! To check just use the URL listed below. Make sure to remove the ‘YOUR WEBSITE HERE’ and type in your own domain (i.e. = http://avgjoegeek.net) to perform the check!
How to Fix Your Site: You will need to ask Google to request a review if your site has been flagged with Malware. Just make sure you resolved the issue first!
Web of Trust
This service is used by over 88 million people according to their website. If they find a big red circle next to your search listing? Forget about them visiting. Unfortunately there isn’t really a way to fix the poor reputation once you receive it! Their forums have some pretty rabid people on there with pretty large followings. If they think your site is anywhere near not trustworthy – forget it.
Check out the Web of Trust homepage and download the plugin for Chrome to see how your site fares!
How to Fix Your Site? If you KNOW your site is trustworthy? Have your readers register and vote positively and leave a comment for your site to show back up as green.
Avast Web Rep
If you use Avast Anti Virus? There is a chrome plugin that will give you a “web rep” sort of like Web of Trust. It takes votes based on community feedback to provide the safety rating for a website. The concern here is if enough negative votes get put onto a site your essentially hosed. Although I personally love the anti virus program itself. I’m not a real big fan of their Web Rep system.
Oh, BTW the only way to see this on your browser? You would have to install and use Avast on your computer to have the plugin installed.
Norton Safe Web
This is a free scanner that Norton offers called Norton Safe Web. You enter in the URL you want scanned and it performs an online check of that URL only. It also has an online community that can vote on a website if it is found to be infected.
How to Fix Your Site? You will need to submit a request with Norton to re-evaluate your website if you have a negative rating. You can click on the link: Norton Safe Web for Site Owners
McAfee Site Advisor
McAfee is another huge antivirus company that offers free scans of websites. It is called McAfee Site Advisor and performs a scan of a website URL. What I liked about this scanner is that it showed a list of links that it has scanned that link back to your website.
How to Fix Your Site? You will have to click on the “Request a Review” button from the results page to have them re-visit your site.
AVG Online Web Scanner
AVG is another popular anti-virus solution that offers an online web scanner. The AVG Online Web Scanner will scan your entire site and report back any issues it might find. To see if your site (or any other site) is safe you can use the widget below:
How to Fix Your Site? You can sign up with AVG to verify that you are the site owner on the link above as well. Unfortunately I didn’t see any information on what to do if your site was found to be infected on how to fix it with them though.
Trend Micro Site Safety Center
Trend Micro also has an online website scanner. The Trend Micro Safety Center will allow you to put in a URL of a website and push back the results letting you know whether it is safe or not.
How to Fix Your Site? There is a link on the results page that will allow you to re-classify the site. You can submit either as a Trend Micro customer or as the website owner.
How to Fix Your Site? Well, if they do scan your site and find your site infected? They will clean it up and monitor it for $89.99 a year. I can’t tell you how well they work though as I do not currently use their services.
Did I run the scanners for avgjoegeek.net? You know I did! I passed everything but the Web of Trust site which was disheartening. Although I was only listed as “Orange” which means the sites ‘iffy’ I’d rather see it in the green!
We all know by now that the internet is a scary place. And its nice to know these services exist for people so they can browse the web safely. I would make sure to use the above tools to see if your site’s online reputation is safe! You could be losing potential visitors and business due to any of these services improperly flagging your site. The good news is though? Most of you should find your site in the green – which means your safe!