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How-to 7 min read July 16, 2020

How to check donor sites for filters and malware

check donor-sites for filters and viruses
The goal of the external site promotion is to get a high-quality link mass. Checking donor-sites is essential to ensure that the resources that refer to your site haven't got any viruses and aren't filtered.

Why checking site donors is important

Donors that are sanctioned by search engines decrease acceptor's ranking and may cause it's getting filtered. Generally, the sanctions mean total site's exception from the SERP, lowering ranking or partial exception of some pages.

Any sanction leaves its trace on the site's history and reputation. In the case of banning, significant work must be done to deal with it and get the site unblocked. Promoting the sanctioned site is quite complicated as Google applies a Penguin filter for using wrong links.

A virus is malicious code, that means a result of hacking. The virus can harm the site itself as well as the whole hosting. The latter will cause spreading the malware among all the hosted websites. While entering the infected site, a user gets a notification that this is unsafe.

Checking a donor-site for sanctions

As our purpose is not to study the site but check the donors, we can't use Google Search Console. So, let's consider some other online checking services.

You may use some link markets' stats that estimate the site's trustworthiness and rank its possibility of being sanctioned.

An analyzer that can help to see the risk of becoming filtered is Websites Penalty Indicator. The tool is free and available without registration. It helps to trace how Google algorithms' updates influence the site.
How to check sanctions in Websites Penalty Indicator
If you see that the organic site traffic is significantly affected, the probability of the site's being sanctioned grows. Here are some examples of the traffic on a sanctioned site:
Websites Penalty Indicator checking online
The opposite situation:
Site's traffic after search engines penalties
Search engines penalty influence on the site
Note that the sanctions may be applied not for the whole site but for some of the pages. In this case, the analysis becomes much harder.


Here are the main types of malware:

  • doorways;
  • proxy and botnets;
  • iframe;
  • shell.

Doorways create additional sites inside yours which post ads. Proxy and botnets waste your site resources on spam traffic.

Iframe is a severe threat not only for the site but for a computer as well. It can steal confidential information, provide fraud schemes, load trojan, and other kinds of viruses.

Shell gets integrated into a remote server and changes the initial code. Then you lose the site control. If the site which refers to you has at least one of the mentioned viruses, this seriously threatens your web-resource.


To check your site for malware, you can use Web inspector tool. This is a free website malware scanner.

While entering the infected site, your antivirus signalizes about the threat. Either, Google also will notify you about the risks.
Warning about virus on the site
Moreover, you can use virustotal to check the site for malware. Choose the URL tab and enter the site address to start analyzing.
Checking site for viruses online
Checking viruses on the site
How to check site's donor for malware
How to scan a site for malware
What is the worst of being infected is that you are likely to be added to a ban-list. So, if a donor site is infected, it doesn't have to refer to your site. And your web-resource mustn't contain any of them.

Find malicious sites with Serpstat

The Malicious Sites is a report on malicious domains and links from them.

Main indicators:

  1. URL: the address of the domain or subdomain that is referenced.
  2. Number of backlinks from domain: the number of links from a donor indicated in the column "URL" that lead to the analyzed site.
  3. Platform: the type of platform/operating system for which this vulnerability is relevant. Possible options:
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Android
  • OSX
  • iOS
  • Any_platform;
  • All_platforms;
  • Chrome
4. Vulnerability Type: type of vulnerability detected.
Possible options:
  • malware;
  • social engineering;
  • unwanted software;
  • potentially harmful application;
5. Date of last check: the date the vulnerability for the specified domain was last checked and confirmed.
malicious sites Serpstat
Want to get detailed instructions on how to choose a quality link for your domain? Leave your email in the form and receive a whitepaper with a step-by-step guide.


Checking a donor site for sanctions or viruses is extremely important. Using a low-quality link mass may result in the filtering of your site. In the case of viruses, your site and users' computers also can be infected.

To check the site for sanctions and verify its traffic, you should use the Websites Penalty Indicator. The examples of how filters affect the site traffic are mentioned above.

It's not so hard to identify viruses, because while entering the site, you receive a warning message either from your antivirus software or search engine. In addition, you can use a Virustotal tool to be sure that the referring site is clear and safe.
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This article is a part of Serpstat's Checklist tool
Checklist at Serpstat
Checklist is a ready-to-do list that helps to keep reporting of the work progress on a specific project. The tool contains templates with an extensive list of project development parameters where you can also add your own items and plans.
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