Website Security SEO

When talking about SEO, we try to make sure to cover all the parts of a website you should optimize. But, I have to tell you, it’s not easy. The factors affecting SEO are numerous, and you’re super likely to miss one of them.

And security is one of the topics that are so often overlooked. We talk about backlinks, keywords, sitemaps, and website structure. But let’s see how security can affect SEO.

HTTPS Encryption for SEO

Back in early 2018, Google has announced that within a year, the search engine will be marking all HTTP websites as “Not secure.” And now the year has passed, not to mention that a number of websites were marked like that even before the final announcement.

So now we all have to go HTTPS. That is if we want organic traffic without scaring people away from the key SERPs (search engine result pages).

What Is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for “Hypertext transfer protocol secure.” It’s the secure version of HTTP. You can see a padlock in your browser’s address bar every time you visit and HTTPS-encrypted website.

The encryption allows users to exchange data with the website’s server without exposing it to the network admin, internet provider or any other third party. That’s especially important for websites that use login information for messaging, using a bank account, etc.

HTTPS works by using SSL encryption over the HTTP protocol. You can purchase your SSL certificate for a fee, but many hosting providers give the certificate to their users for free.

Hacked Websites

There are hundreds of ways to hack a website, and many of them can go unnoticed for long. But almost any hacked website ends up either losing its Google ranking or simply getting banned from the search engine.

Let’s see the most likely cases.

1. Malware on Your Website

A common reason to hack websites is implanting malware on it, often to collect user data or infect the website in some other way.

Whereas only about 10% of infected websites are being detected by Google, that’s a pretty high risk if you’re hacked. Being blacklisted is not a joke, and you don’t recover easily after cleaning up your website.

You have to make sure to use systematic security scans and have a backup version of your website without recent changes to go back to.

You can use one of the hundreds of free security services or use a premium one. Just make sure that it has the option to schedule malware scans and send you an alert when there’s something wrong.

And use a backup service that offers differential backups. It’s when with every change, you only have your recent changes saved on top of an older full backup. This is done to save some space on your hosting storage. With a decent backup service, you can just reverse your website to an older (and cleaner) version even when it’s hard to get rid of the malware itself.

2. SEO Spam

In the majority of cases, websites are hacked just for the sake of spam traffic. You may not even see at once that you’ve got hacked. But the attacker will continuously keep adding spam links to a website they need to be ranked.

This backlink building technique very often backfires: instead of seeing those as valuable links, search engines just detect spam traffic, and the spam coming from your website, they just blacklist it.

And if the spammers overload your website with their content, it will heavily affect your website speed.

But luckily or not, sometimes Google fails to recognize SEO spam or it just takes to long. So you’ve got time to find it yourself and get rid of it.

Use a security service that tracks all the changes made on your website and warns you when there’s something suspicious. Check for any backdoor that you may have left “open” when using a third-party plugin or theme.

3. Targeted Attacks

Targeted attacks are a minority in website hacking cases. It’s when you have an “enemy” who tries to take your website down or visibly change its content.

These attacks are the easiest to detect and reverse with a backup service because they’re a one-time thing. But you take a little longer to restore your website, the result on SEO may become almost irreversible. You’ll have to build it all from 0. And this brings us back to using a simple and functional backup service to make the restoration a breeze.

So, have you secured your website yet?

Beware of attacks and always remember to keep a backup version to keep all your SEO success going.