Follow these steps below to identify hidden malicious links first if they exist on your website.
Step 1: Get Links from Support
First of all, contact with Google Ads support, and ask for details, ask for what they got on the website. You may get a reply within 2 business days. That reply email will contain links that Google Ads found on your website.
Step 2: Start finding the hidden links
At first, try Solvewp online Scanner to discover hidden links. In most cases, you will get those links under “external links”. If nothing suspicious is found, proceed to these manual steps. Check your website HTML source code in any web browser like Mozilla Firefox or Chrome.
- 1: Search your website in Google (Don’t type URL in browser address bar directly)
- 2: Click on any link from the google search result
- 3: Once you get your website fully loaded on your web browser, press “
CTRL+U” on the keyboard or right-click on your mouse and select “View page source”
- 4: Press “
CTRL+F” to find the string on HTML source, type something like “
apu” or “
zoneid” in the search box
That search keyword, links can be different for your website. Get your links from Google Ads support email.
If you can’t locate those links provided by Google Ads support email in your website source code, skip to the Step 5: Resubmit Ads
If you can identify malicious links in your website’s HTML source code, follow the next step to locate the source of those links.
Step 3: Check website database
If those malicious links are hidden into the database, you may locate them by simply searching using link domain names or unique keywords.
dolohen a search term in our example.
Login into phpmyadmin > Select appropriate database name > click on search
Make sure that you have selected all database tables to search into.
If those links exist in the database, you will get it like this
Click on “browse”
You got your culprit hidden malicious links!
Try different unique search keywords if the result returns nothing.
Step 4: Check website files
grep -Hrn 'dolohen' /var/www/html/wp-content
Step 5: Resubmit Ads
Once you get everything clean, resubmit your ads in Google by simply editing existing ads. If you make any simple edit in existing ads like just change a word, ads status will change to “Under Review”.
- Select the ads you want to resubmit for review.
- In the menu at the top, click Edit.
- Make any change, you can just change a word.
- Click Submit.
Wait and see if the ads get approved or you get disapproved email again.
Once your ads are disapproved for malicious links or unwanted software, there is a high chance that Google won’t approve your ads again automatically. You will need for manual review. In that case, follow the next step.
Step 6: Contact Google
Assuming that you already contacted Google Ads support and sent you some malicious links they found on your website.
Please reply to that email by mentioning that you hired security professionals; they have already cleaned and secured your website. But unfortunately, Google Ads is still getting those links on your website. You believe that Google Ads automated scanner getting cache results. It would be best if you had a manual review.
Google ads support will raise a ticket for you and will arrange for manual review.
After a few days, usually within 2-3 business days, you will get an update from Ads support. You may get your ads approved at this stage.
But from our experience, there is a high chance that Ads support will claim again that they still getting malicious links, just like this image below:
Now you have to take a bold step. Before that, again, are you 100% sure that your site is clean? If your security team assure you that your website is clean, write a reply like this:
If your website is really clean, you will get good news this time! 🙂
Sample of hidden links we found
Just so that you can identify malicious links from HTML source code, here are some samples we found in different cases we worked for.