Information security is more relevant than ever, particularly in the technical search engine optimization (SEO) realm. Safe Browsing is a Google service that prevents users from entering a database of blacklisted websites.
With the Google Safe Browsing service, secure search activities and browser protection from dangerous websites are ensured. Nowadays, we worry less about is this website safe? or how to browse securely because Google can detect Safe Browsing issues and send Google security warnings before a threat hits.
Safe Browsing equally benefits website owners. In the Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report, you can find Google Safe Browsing diagnostics that help address issues affecting a website’s status as a Google safe site.
Let’s unpack how to browse safely, what are safe search Google standards, what is malware and how to get rid of malware, and discover tips on using a malware checker and the Google Safe Browsing website check.
Read on for answers to these frequently asked questions posed by website owners:
- Is this website safe?
- How to browse securely
- How to use Google Safe Browsing to your advantage
- What is malware and how to remove malware
- Is a website malware scanner Google-approved?
- Can I use a Chrome Safe Browsing extension?
- What is a Google Safe Browsing API key?
We’ll also explore how to browse safely from the user’s perspective, the misconception surrounding how to turn on Google safe search and how to use Google Safe Browsing to your advantage as a webmaster.
What Is Google Safe Browsing?
Safe Browsing is a service offered by Google to ensure secure search activities online. Google Safe Browsing crawls the web for dangerous websites and content, then automatically adds them to a block list. Chrome runs a Google Safe Browsing check by cross-referencing the user’s activity with the block list to detect browsing threats and send Google security warnings.
For users, basic browser protection is already running in the background – enabling a Chrome setting called Enhanced Safe Browsing detects Safe Browsing issues in real-time. Some users referring to this Chrome setting mistakenly ask “how to turn on Google safe search.” SafeSearch is a tool used to filter explicit Search results, so how to turn on Google safe search is not related to Secure Browsing.
While Google aggressively protects users, it looks after website owners with tools on how to use Google Safe Browsing to your advantage.
What is Google Safe Browsing from a webmaster’s perspective?
- The Google safe browser can block visitors from entering your site.
- The Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report shows safe search Google data, such as the number of dangerous websites to keep you informed.
- The same report provides a Google secure browsing website check tool to ensure your site returns a yes for “is this website safe?”
Is Safe Browsing a Google Page
Experience Ranking Factor?
Experience Ranking Factor?
A new Google ranking factor called Google Page Experience began rolling out on June 15, 2021, and it initially included Safe Browsing as one of its ranking signals alongside mobile friendly, HTTPS, no intrusive interstitials and Core Web Vitals.
On August 3, however, Google made several improvements to the Page Experience report and announced that it would be dropping Safe Browsing as a Page Experience ranking signal. According to Google, it’s possible for sites to fall victim to third-party hi-jacking, and issues like this are not always within the control of website owners.
However, this doesn’t mean you should no longer prioritize your website’s safety and security. Safe browsing continues to play a significant role in providing online users with a secure online experience.
With threats to secure search activities ever-present and unpredictable, users constantly ask “is this site safe” and “how to browse safely.” The Google safe browser protects both the user and its platform integrity.
How Safe Browsing relates to technical SEO:
- If you fail the Google Safe Browsing check, the Google safe browser alerts your site visitors with Google security warnings, causing them to leave your site even before seeing it.
- A questionable site will cause users to bounce or exit your page immediately – a red flag that Google penalizes in Search rankings.
- Technical SEO services ensure your site avoids penalties and is on par with safe search Google standards.
Beyond the dips in website traffic and Search rankings, any experienced technical SEO agency will tell you that the direct consequences of malicious content are far greater.
Major safe search Google issues to watch out for:
Malware and Unwanted Software
Malware is any software or mobile application designed to harm a computer or mobile device. But what is malware in common terms? It’s a program that can initiate harmful actions such as installing viruses and unwanted software that can alter a user's settings or leak personal information. You need to learn how to get rid of malware and use malware removal tools to avoid being hacked and exposing users unknowingly.
Social engineering is tricking users into revealing sensitive information using deception tactics such as phishing or impersonating a legitimate entity to make the user initiate an unwanted software download. Because of the upward trend in phishing attempts, knowing how to remove malware is critical.
How to Measure Safe Browsing
Prioritize website security in your technical SEO efforts to protect both users and your Search rankings. Your goal is to become a Google safe site. You need to abide by the Google safe site standards to answer is this site safe? with a confident yes.
Check the status of your site security with these technical SEO expert-approved techniques:
Safe Browsing Website Check
The Google Transparency Report offers a quick Google Safe Browsing website check:
- Enter your URL and the Google malware checker will return “No unsafe content found” if your site is safe.
- Otherwise, this malware link checker will return “This site is unsafe” and more information on addressing the issues and how to get rid of malware.
Security Issues report
Google Search Console offers Google Safe Browsing diagnostics in its Security Issues report.
- If nothing is detected by the Google malware checker and your site is safe, the report will reflect “No issues detected.”
- If the website malware scan finds malicious content, you will see an alert in the overview section and clicking through will provide details on the detected issues.
- There is no standalone website malware scanner Google application.
- There is no separate website malware scanner Google tool, malware link checker or website malware scan tool.
- No official Safe Browsing extension is available on Chrome for now.
The Google Safe Browsing check does the job of a website malware checker program and the Google Safe Browsing report covers how to remove malware.
Google-recommended third-party website malware checker programs and malware removal solutions are available for download. Alternatively, use a third-party Secure Browsing extension to block dangerous websites through security alerts and browser protection services.
How to Improve Safe Browsing
Safe Browsing is how Google addresses the user’s constant worry of “is this site safe?” and using a Google safe browser is precisely how to browse securely today.
5 steps to improve your safe browsing site status:
Prioritize Threat Prevention
It’s much easier to prevent malicious attacks than to fix them. Run a website malware scan regularly and reference Google materials on preventing malware and the Unwanted Software Policy.
Migrate Your Site to HTTPS
Having an HTTPS site adds a critical security layer that most websites today have. It’s not an explicit requirement for Safe Browsing, but it deters security attacks. HTTPS is also a Page Experience ranking signal and its impact on site security is significant to Secure Browsing.
Use the Google Transparency Report
Check the Google Safe Browsing report, Google Search Console Security Issues and all other malware checker tools available to monitor your site security. Search Console-verified site owners also receive email alerts on potential threats.
Address Security Threats
After the Safe Browsing website check is complete, investigate your affected pages and fix them – usually through malware removal and inspecting your site’s back-end. A thorough site audit is recommended with the help of technical SEO services.
Request a Review
You need another Google Safe Browsing check after your security fixes are complete. It’s best if your request for a review is made by a technical SEO expert or web developer because Google expects in-depth details in your review request.
3 More Site Security Tips to Consider
The Google Security Blog provides the latest site security information straight from Google. You can find out if an official Google malware checker has been released as well as any upcoming system updates.
Some of the best tips we’ve gathered:
Beware of Cloaking
Cloaking is when content is displayed differently to humans and to search engines. A malware link checker or malware checker application might not pick up on the threat but a human inspection would.
Google Safe Browsing API
The Google Safe Browsing API enables web and app developers to access the Safe Browsing blacklist. The Google Safe Browsing API key can be generated through the Google Developers Console. Leverage the Google Safe Browsing API key to provide additional security for your users.
Keep Your Website Updated
Your third-party site plugins are the most vulnerable. Keeping your website, plugins and programming language up to date is critical. Have CAPTCHAs or challenge-response tests on your contact forms to prevent bad data from entering your systems.
Now that you know all about Safe Browsing, security threat prevention and fixes and using website malware checker tools and Google Safe Browsing API, work on enhancing your site security.
Call our technical SEO agency at 866.908.4748 or fill out our contact form to find out how to improve your Google Safe Browsing site status with customized technical SEO services.