Long Story Short
Google announced last month that they will now include hacked spam notifications in Google Analytics, not just Google Search Console.
Wait, what are these two tools?
Google Analytics: A free analytics tool that tracks and reports website traffic. Other functions include goal + benchmark settings and conversion tracking.
Google Search Console: A free search tool that helps you monitor, manage, and gain insight into you’re your site fits into Google’s search result pages.
Short Story Long
In September 2015, Google shared that they’ve seen a 180% increase in the number of websites getting hacked.
On June 21, 2016, Google announced they’re “expanding [their] 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.”
To reach a larger audience, Google now notifies webmasters of malicious third party hackers to their site on Google Analytics. Previously, these alerts were only triggered in Google Search Console (formally known as Google Webmaster Tools). You do not need to have your website set up on Google Search Console to get the Google Analytics notifications – you can get notifications for one without the other.
Photo from Google of what the notification may look like:
Tips to Keep Your Site Safe
1) Verify your website with Google Search Console to get notifications through the Security Issues feature.
2) Continually update your website software, CMS, and any plug-ins/add-ons used on your site with the newest releases.
3) Use a strong password that you don’t use for anything else, if available use two-step verification. Two-step verification usually means you first use your username and password to login, then a code is sent to a secondary email or phone number for you to enter, in order to gain access.
If your site does get hacked, you can find resources like this, for how to resolve any issues.
All in All
Take all necessary precautions to keep your website safe from malware and hackers. Create both Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts to gain valuable insights from hacked spam notifications to how your site is positioned on Google search results to where your traffic is coming from and how they’re interacting with your website.