How to Fix the “Deceptive Site Ahead"

Google pays a lot of attention to the users' online safety therefore, if there is an issue with your site that puts its users at risk, it will display warning messages and prevent visitors from accessing your site.

If a website is blacklisted by Google, a visitor gets a red colour-blocking page with a “Deceptive Site Ahead" or “The site ahead contains malware” warning upon opening the website. What this means is that your site has been injected with malware or a malicious code was found on your site that a hacker can use to perform malicious activities. All of these activities will affect your user into viewing inappropriate content and ads or stealing their personal data

Causes for “Deceptive Site Ahead” Warning Message on Your Website

There are several causes that can result in Google showing a warning message on your website:

  • Your website is hosting phishing pages intentionally or unintentionally
  • Your website has a virus/malware infection
  • Your website contains code within your website linking to questionable links or the website has written some hidden backdoor code or script
  • Your website is transmitting personal information to unsecure servers/links
  • The SSL certificate installed on your website is compromised
  • Your site contains credit card-stealing malware which is used to steal credit card data and send it to hackers.
  • Themes and plugins are vulnerable.

Effects of Deceptive Site Ahead Warning On Your Site

The consequence of “Deceptive site Ahead” on your website will lead to a loss of traffic and possible business opportunities.
Your SEO rankings will drop as your site will be penalized by Google for having such malware on your website.
Not only will your SEO ranking drop, but Google ads will also be suspended
This warning will lead to your hosting account getting suspended as well until the malware is cleaned.

Steps on How To Fix The ‘Deceptive Site Ahead’ Warning

You need to resubmit your site back to Google and request them to unflag the site as deceptive. However, before you do that, make sure the website security issues on your site are resolved.

Step 1: Find the Cause, you can check your security issues report via Google search console.
Step 2: Scan your website for malware and remove the malicious infection on your website
Step 3: Obtain an SSL certificate(if you do not have any) and have it installed properly
Step 4: Now that you have your website clean and free of malware, it is time to request a review from Google

Your website must be live for Google to check, Google needs to be able to crawl your site to review it, so make sure you haven’t blocked Googlebot. If you resubmit the site without resolving the issues, it will lead to more delays.

How to Request a Review From Google

  • Login to your Google Search Console(GSC)
  • Select “I have fixed these issues” in the “Open the Security Issues” report section
  • Click on Request a review, and state the steps you took in fixing the warning.
  • Submit Request
  • Repeat the process if there are multiple issues.
  • You need to wait as this can take a few hours or days for Google to review your request.
  • Google will lift the blacklisting and de-indexation of your pages if all is okay with your website. Re-indexing to regain rankings can take a few days.

What if Your Website Does not Pass the Review?

The warning message will continue to show on your website if Google finds out you have not fully resolved the problem. Recheck the security issues report to track any remaining malicious contents/infected URLs, once you are sure everything has been cleared, repeat the re-submitting process.

Steps on how to Prevent “Deceptive Site Ahead” Warnings

Do not wait to get this warning before securing your site, a good practice is to do regular security checks on your website to protect yourself against such a situation. Using a firewall and other secure development and maintenance practices will do wonders for your website.

  • Use secure hosting with robust security measures
  • Make sure you have backups
  • Always use trusted themes and plugins at all times
  • Keep Your Website Up-To-Date always
  • Install Security Plugins
  • Monitor emails within your Google Search Console Account
  • Use a two-factor authentication feature
  • This warning set by Google though alarming is helpful and tells you something is wrong with your website. When Google shows the warning ‘Deceptive site ahead‘ on your website, it is necessary to get down working and repair this error as soon as possible. Your visitors may doubt the professionalism of your website and this is something that can harm you, both in terms of SEO and conversions.

Putting measures in place to secure your website at all times is important because you become vulnerable to outsiders and all forms of attack once your website is open for public access.