How To Fix: Social Engineering Content Detected

Have you received an email from Google search console talking about social engineering content detected in your website? If you have you’re in the right place. Google search console constantly reviews websites to ensure users accessing your website through their search engine results are accessing safe websites. Well, that’s the idea.

But most of these reviews are done by software and sometimes they make errors. Sometimes they are right. The most important thing after receiving this dreadful email, it to know what to do and to be decisive with your actions. I received this email from Search console two days ago and my website has already been successfully reviewed. Here is how I did it.

On 8th Feb 2017, I received the email on my phone at midnight and I immediately jumped out of bed to turn on my PC. I saw the email and I knew I had to act quickly and decisively. The fact that the email also said: “To protect your site’s visitors, your site has been demoted in Google’s search results and browsers such as Google Chrome now display a warning when users visit your site.”  was worrying enough for me to stay awake and have the issue fixed.

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Getting demoted in search results can really hurt your traffic. So it is in your best interest to solve the problem as soon as you see this notification. And this is where it gets hard.  Like most other warnings from Google and YouTube, the exact violation is never really clear. You kind of have to find out on your own with the clues given in the email.

Two months earlier,  I had tried to run a Google Adword campaign on one of my url to give it some paid traffic. My campaign was rejected and the email said the reason was ” Policy violation: Malicious or Unwanted Software”  So I knew something is up for sure. What is it though?

Usually, with these kinds of warnings, Google will give you examples of pages that are in violation.  To see these pages,  click on the ‘View Examples’  button to open your search console on Google webmaster. You’ll see a list of urls that are in violation of Google’s safe browsing policy.  You can open these pages via google docs.

When I opened my urls, I couldn’t see anything obvious. So I though my website had been attacked by malware that was displaying ads or asking visitors for sensitive information. I scanned my site for malware using the Sucuri Malware and Security Scanner. I found nothing. I checked the entire theme’s source code and all plugins code and still found nothing. I started searching for this topic.

I read about this topic in forums and gathered information from different contributors on different forums and from analyzing all this information, I gathered that the most likely culprit was an ad on my blog. Together with Adsense, I had a banner rotater that was rotating affiliate banners from Peerfly.

Because it was a banner rotator, I was not in control of what ads were being displayed at different times in different countries. Maybe some of the ads were phising and some were soliciting for sensitive information.  This took me back to the email from search console. Google mentioned ads.

 

My executive action as the owner and sole contributor of WebPro Education  was to get rid of the banner rotator.  As soon as I got rid of it, I was confident I had solved the problem.  I requested for a review and explained to Google that i removed an affiliate banner rotator from the blog.  In less than 24 hours,  my review was successful.

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If you have this problem, I suggest you take a second look at other non-Adsense ads on your website.  99.9% of the time, they are the problem. Think about whether they are worth more than getting free traffic from Google on your website.

Special cases include malware attacks on your website server for which you might need professional assistance.

NB:  The sooner you get this issue resolved,  the better everything will be for you. When the issue is resolved,  your websites will be promoted again on search engine results.

 

A consumer technology blogger mainly into product reviews and how to guides. I love writing and making videos on Technology. That’s when I’m  not watching Tech videos.