Setting up a new website means a lot of tasks. You’ll have to find the best web builder software or the best web programmer and designer to hire; find the right hosting service to keep you up and running; or come up with the domain name that will help in your SEO.
Little do you know that the level of safety that your website offers is another factor search engines look at in ranking you. So if you really want to up your ranking game and put your website on top of the SERPs, you should invest some effort in cybersecurity and make sure that your visitors are safe from any risks.
The Real Connection Between Security and SEO
HTTPS serves as one of the ranking factors by search engines. If you’re a newbie and are confused with what I mean, HTTP means Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It indicates the internet communication protocol that protects the confidentiality of data between the website and the user. Now, your readers expect a secured browsing through your website and that is what S stands for in HTTPS – Secured.
This is a simple way of knowing whether a website is safe or not. Hence, It is important to set your website into HTTPS (which I will discuss in an upcoming blog) and tell Google and all the readers that “hey, it’s safe in here!”
But as you know, ensuring your website’s security doesn’t stop at HTTPS. It doesn’t mean too that when your website is set up on HTTPs, it is already safe.
Regardless of HTTPS certification, it was found out that websites still suffer from at least 58 attacks per day. Also, attacks don’t discriminate on the size of the website so it happens regardless the popularity rate of your website. Search engines, detecting unsafe websites push them to the back since people hate getting their PCs infected with malware and the like.
Now, let’s find out more about how security matters in SEO.
Cybersecurity is Consumers’ Concern
The growth rate of cybercrimes is agile. The internet has become a scary place and it’s scarier now than ever. Cybercriminals have grown so smart that they attack websites in any way possible. Actually, they have unimaginable techniques too. Every time cybersecurity experts come closer at eradicating online risks, cybercriminals again come up with new ways to carry on with their crimes.
82% of web goers stop browsing a website when they are alerted about possible threats found in it. There are simple ways on how you can ensure the safety of your website and generate trust.
Employing a reliable WAF or Web Application Firewall will keep your applications safe from common attacks like SQL injection. It filters out malicious traffic by cross-site scripting and adding an extra layer of security like what any PC firewall does. This WAF will help you get a PCI-DSS certification which is very important when you are running an online store where payments are being processed. This certification tells shoppers that their data, most especially their banking details are secured. This makes them keep choosing you when they shop or your blog when they need information.
And for you, this means, higher traffic and possibly, profitability.
Cybersecurity is Google’s Business
Check on your hosting that it’s secured. Implement HTTPS and SSL certificates to heighten your web security. Internet goers who aren’t aware they might be placed at risks are often the victims of cybercrimes like fraud and identity theft. But with the millions of instances of these crimes, people have already grown aware and are constantly using antiviruses to determine risks.
Google detects unhappy readers who immediately get out of a website. This makes Google push you back to the edge of the SERPs. Remember, Google wants its users to be happy so if you make them unhappy, it won’t ever put you on top of the SERP, no matter how strong your keywords are.
Also, HTTPS sites load faster than those that are not. This is because malware-infected websites tend to speed down in loading and this greatly pisses users.
3 Tips for Securing Your Website
To help you out, I’ve listed the most crucial tips for securing your website so it won’t be flagged by search engines as a malicious site.
Let’s get started.
1. Moderate Comment Spam
There are a lot of accounts that leave comments that contain malicious links on random websites. If readers happen to click on these links, then they are done for.
Spam comments left on your website have negative impact on your SEO. Google will flag your website unsafe due to the links so you have to delete them. The problem is when you can’t monitor the spam messages because you are too busy on something else.
When you leave them on your site for a long time, your website’s authority and credibility are damaged. Lucky you, there are now plugins and techniques you can use to manage spams. They include:
- If you are on WordPress, there are several anti-spam plugins you can use like WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam, WordPress Zero Spam, or Clean Talk among many others.
- Place CAPTCHA to ensure that the comments are being left by real people. If possible, make the CAPTCHA complicated like text verification.
- From your settings, only allow your subscribers to leave comments. Most spammers hate the long process of sign up and verifications so they’ll leave your website alone altogether.
- Assign an active moderator of your website you can regularly review comments for spams.
- Website firewall like Barracuda or Cloudfare WAF will block malicious bots from infiltrating your website.
- Allow leaving hyperlinks in comments or deactivate commenting altogether.
2. Schedule Regular Web Scans for Malware
Malware attacks happen all the time. Hackers are becoming more advanced that they can find their way in a website despite its strong security. Oftentimes, these malware cause the website to fail and slow down, affecting your SEO.
Google flags websites that are slow. In a study, users who fail to open a website in the first 14 seconds of their attempt, they leave. Also, you can be blacklisted from search engines when your website is infested with an unimaginable volume of malware.
There are now efficient website malware scanning tools like Google Malware Checker or Indusface. They scan codes in your site in your preferred frequency. These tools automatically remove the threats and send you a report about the malware that attacked your website.
3. Cache Website Data
Like I mentioned earlier, malware causes your website to slow down. Sometimes, it won’t allow your website to load at all.
In this case, a CDN or Content Delivery Network will help you get back on track. This optimization infrastructure caches your website’s content across data centers. This will let your website load faster and improves your web security.
And again, remember that one of the ranking factors of major search engines is the load time of your website. By using a CDN, user experience will be improved and while boosting both your SEO and security at the same time.
In the scary cyber realm, people are growing more concerned of their security as they browse websites. There are over 14 million cases of fraud happening each year. And if they feel like their data is compromised as they visit your site, they will automatically leave and block you from their browsing. Consequently, Google will get the signal that people are avoiding your website.
So it pays to invest on your security. There are tons of tools and plugins you can use to heighten your website’s security. Be sure to check what’s best to use on your website and see your SEO ranking rapidly improving.