In the past, I had heard a lot of horror stories of friends getting booted from Google's SERPS for controversial SEO tactics and sketchy marketing ideas. I always played these stories off since I knew that my ideas stayed within the rules and guidelines of the Googles of the world. After all, this blog is solely for the collection of my own thoughts, and its rankings is probably the least of my concerns at this stage in my life.
However, a few weeks ago, during a routine check up of my sites, I noticed that a visit to this blog (loganlenz.com) warranted a pop-up warning unlike anything I had ever seen. I wish I wasn't so startled at the time because I would have captured the screen for proof. Unfortunately, I was too caught up in the moment to worry about that. The warning stated that the site (my blog) had suspicious materials on it and warned the visitor (me at the time) that clicking passed the message could be dangerous for their computer. I didn't need to click through to realize that something was terribly wrong here.
The first thing I thought to do was to analyze the files on my server. I had no idea what could be causing such a strange occurrence. While I perused the files, I did notice a strange iFrame code at the bottom of all of my index files on the server. My server had been hacked!
I deleted this malicious little code, changed all of my access passwords to the server and went about my business. However, little did I know that that wasn't the quick fix. It was Google (and the gatekeepers of the Internet) that issued that warning message on my site. I found this out because of the message underneath the SERPS listing for my site that said "This site may harm your computer." Subsequently, I also noticed that the actual site had lost its Pagerank and could only be found on the SERPS for "Loganlenz.com." And, it wasn't even ranked first anymore...
From here, I went to what I knew best for answers - Google. I searched for "how to make google un-ban your site" or something of the sort. Luckily, I stumbled on some quality resources that directed me to the almighty Google Webmaster Tools application. Within that control panel, there happens to be a form for this type of situation. I filled it out and included what had happened to me and made sure to tell them that it won't happen again. After all, I was an innocent victim.
Lo and behold, the site was listed back in the SERPS sans any warning messages less than 20 hours later and no harm was done whatsoever (except for frightening my visitors during that downtime). I was so happy to have not suffered any data or search engine positioning losses from these events.
While the ending could have been way worse, the process scared me enough to force me into a higher security operation when it comes to my websites. Now, I believe I have the necessary equipment in place to prevent such a fiasco from ever coming close to happening ever again.