How does Website Security Affect your SEO Rankings?
There is much talk regarding website security and how it impacts the Search Engine Optimization of your website.
The simple answer to whether or not It affects your rankings is- Yes. It does impact your search rankings.
Google wants to safeguard the valuable data of its customers. As a website owner, you may claim that you are keeping a watch on cyberspace and ensuring optimum security, but Google won’t buy it from you.
The search engine needs to see whether or not you have installed the security protocols you claim to have done.
How Web Security Impacts Search Rankings
Here are 4 points that will help you understand how security impacts your search rankings:
Absence of an SSL certificate
You can have all the major security protocols in place, but it cannot attain high search rankings if your website does not have an SSL certificate.
On June 16, 2021, Google came out with the “Page Experience Update” that stated SSL or Secure Socket Layer certificate as an essential factor for optimum user experience and search rankings.
Websites that lack SSL would be marked as “Not Secure,” and Google will warn visitors who wish to visit such websites.
So, you must be wondering what exactly an SSL certificate is?
An SSL certificate is a security protocol used to encrypt data transfer between two communicating entities: a web server and a client. It passes it over a secure network where hackers cannot read or manipulate the data being transferred.
But what if you have an eCommerce website that has multiple subdomains to it?
In that case, buying a regular single-domain SSL certificate for each first-level subdomain may not be a feasible option for you, but a wildcard certificate is.
A wildcard SSL can protect unlimited first-level subdomains under a chosen primary domain. Thus, it is a cost-effective option that also minimizes certificate management hassles.
So, where should you buy this from?
Several reliable CAs, such as Comodo, RapidSSl, AlphaSSL etc., stock such premium certs. When you invest in a Comodo Essential SSL Wildcard certificate, you afford premium encryption to multiple level one subdomains such as payments, blogs, collection pages under the main domain at no extra cost! So, buy one today!
Your site gets blacklisted
If Google’s crawlers find out that your site contains malware, they will blacklist you, which will considerably bring your rankings down.
If you want to avoid such a situation, it is best to have a firewall installed on your site.
A firewall will monitor all the activity on your website. It filters and quarantines the potential threats so that no hacker can inject malware into your system.
Firewalls also send timely reports that alert you for malicious queries.
Your site gets crawling errors
Bots can crawl your website for data theft, domain mining, and vulnerability detection.
Due to throttling traffic, the server gets overwhelmed and does not respond to Google’s crawlers.
These bots block Google’s crawlers from detecting your website resulting in 404 and 503 errors.
When Google is unable to crawl your pages, it considers them non-existent. Therefore, their rankings take a dip, and the website’s overall search rankings also go down.
The best way to deal with that is by installing protocols to prevent hackers from integrating malicious bots that can harm your website.
Your SEO gets spammed
SEO spam is when a hacker uses a legit website to distribute spam content containing illegitimate links in it.
Hackers can inject SQL on your website because search engine bots see the content differently, but browsers show different content to the user.
When users click on your website’s link, they will be redirected to a malicious website that contains spam content.
Such spam is against Google’s guidelines, and if the search engine crawlers find that out, they will blacklist your site.
Now that we know that such attacks can happen, how can we prepare against them?
Well, we have put together a bunch of solutions for them that will help you avoid them.
So, let’s look at them:
Install security protocols
The best way to deal with an attack is by ensuring that your borders are closed.
Security protocols like Firewall and SSL certificates guard your website against cyber threats.
They ensure that only legitimate users are allowed to visit your website.
By installing them, you can eliminate the chances of data theft, malware injections, and ransomware attacks.
Moreover, search engines like Google will rank you higher knowing that you are a credible business concerned about its users’ information.
Create strong passwords
Though you may be aware of it already but, do you adhere to it?
Have you ever bothered to check the strength of your password?
Good passwords are tough to breach, making it impossible for hackers to breakthrough.
An optimal password is at least 12 characters long. It should be a blend of numbers, letters, and symbols.
But, even if you have a strong password, never use it twice. Avoid using your pet’s name in your passwords, as hackers can figure such passwords out through your social media activities.
Strong passwords help keep you protected against cyberattacks.
Keep your CMS updated
Content Management Systems keep upgrading themselves to protect their software against cyberattacks.
But many people don’t bother to update their software, thinking it is of no real significance and is a waste of their time.
If you are one of them, you cannot preach about the platform’s credibility after getting compromised.
As a responsible business owner, you must ensure that your CMS is updated till its latest version.
Search engines prefer updated websites over non-updated ones for rankings. So if all come to a stalemate between you and your competitors, software updates may play an integral role in deciding where you rank on the SERP.
The safety of your website is directly linked to its search rankings. Not installing SSL certificates and firewalls can prove fatal for your search rankings.
Unsecured websites become easy prey to SEO spam, SQL injections, and search engine blacklists such sites.
To ensure that you are in search engine’s good books, you must keep your website updated.
So, follow the above tips to safeguard your website.