Last week, Google announced that it was including a hacked site notification in its search results. With this move, Google not only looks to offer searchers the most relevant results, but also the safest search results – and Google's Matt Cutts suggests this will be a search trend for the company next year.
The company explained that it uses a variety of automated tools to detect hacked sites and said that a message indicating security compromises will be included under the links to offending result pages. Users choose to click marked results anyway, and they can opt to click on the warning labels to learn more about the suspected problem.
Google assures site owners that it will work to help them if their sites are hacked, thus preventing them from losing too much traffic because of the notifications. The company promises to do its "best to contact the site's webmaster via their Webmaster Tools account and any contact email addresses we can find on the webpage." It also assures site owners that the label will be removed once the problem is fixed.
The company says this is all part of its effort to "make the web a safer place."
Moreover, Google's Matt Cutts mentioned the hacked site notification features in a recent Webmaster Central video about search trends for 2011. He suggested Google will be focused on these safety features, as well as appropriate notification systems for site owners, moving into next year. Marketers will want to carefully monitor their Google accounts to be sure their web pages are hack-free, and they may find consumers are more ready to click on their sites when the pages are safe.
These safety measures may help Google maintain its competitive edge over Facebook in 2011, as the social network is known for privacy issues. As 2010 comes to a close, comScore's data on the most popular web properties (covered by Brafton yesterday) indicates that Google sites boast nearly 30 million more unique visitors than Facebook.