Google have revealed that spammer hack alerts will now be delivered to webmasters through the Google Analytics User Interface. The update was announced in an entry on the Google Webmaster Central blog, posted June 21st. Here’s what they wrote:
“Today, we’re happy to announce that we’ll be expanding our set of alerts in Google Analytics by adding notifications about sites hacked for spam in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. In the unlikely event of your site being compromised by a 3rd party, the alert will flag the affected domain right within the Google Analytics UI and will point you to resources to help you resolve the issue.”
In effect, this update will translate into an extra warning of spammer hacks for webmasters, delivered via Google Analytics. The alerts will include advice for webmasters on how to re-secure their site and remove the harmful ‘compromised’ classification. Ordinary website users are already alerted to spammer hacks by means of ‘Safer Browsing’ alerts, displayed on-page.
This move follows hot on the heels of the integration of Google Search Console metrics into the Google Analytics UI, offering further evidence that Google Analytics is being developed into a ‘definitive’ webmaster platform.
The Target Internet take
At face value this seems to be an inherently helpful update. What could be wrong with an extra alert when your website’s security is compromised? Nothing, if the alert is triggered under the right circumstances…
But there seems to be a problem with Google spammer hack alerts: specifically with their own diagnostic capabilities. A quick scroll through the comments section of the Google blog post featured in this article reveals a number of problems surrounding inaccurate diagnoses of perfectly secure domains as ‘compromised’. One reader commented: “Google’s “Security Issues” detection in Search Console is so bad that it identifies the titles of scientific publications as well as the titles of it’s [sic] own “Google Patents” as “hacked with spam”.”
Whether or not your site truly is compromised when Google tells you as much, you’re now going to have the benefit of an extra reminder in your Google Analytics UI that will help guide you towards resolving the issue. If – like us – you often have one eye on Google Analytics, that can only be a good thing.