Google announced last week it would be improving its security notifications for hacked websites to cover cases where sites are infected with SEO spam.

In February 2015, Google integrated the Safe Browsing API from the Google Webmaster Tools (now rebranded Google Search Console) into the Google Analytics dashboard.

Webmasters that used Google Analytics code on their websites, and also added the website to their Search Console account would receive notifications if their site was ever flagged via the Safe Browsing API.

This meant that whenever Google would detect malware on the webmaster’s website, or other threats such as phishing pages, he would receive a notification in his Analytics dashboard.

The thinking behind this decision was that webmasters check the Analytics dashboard much often than they check the Search Console. Further, other webmasters didn’t provide a valid email address at which they could be reached, or they wouldn’t check it every day.

Notifications now show malware, phishing threats, and SEO spam

Google is now enhancing these notifications with new alerts that warn the webmaster whenever Google detects SEO spam on his website.

The notification, seen below, is very much needed since SEO spam has become extremely popular in recent months.

Imperva recently detected an SEO spam campaign during which crooks hacked over 700 domains using SQL injections. Similarly, Sucuri discovered a developer based in India distributing nulled WordPress themes and plugins that contained a backdoor that allowed him to access the site and leave SEO spam behind.

SEO spam increased 180% since last September

Even Google mentions that since September 2015, its website scanning tools have detected an 180 percent increase in hacked sites spreading SEO spam.

Previous research has shown Google that direct contact with site owners increases the chance of having the website cleaned by 75 percent.

“This new alert gives us an additional method for letting website owners know that their site may be compromised,” Google’s Giacomo Gnecchi Ruscone explained.

An example of a Google Analytics alert for a compromised site

An example of a Google Analytics alert for a compromised site

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