When it comes to SEO, an agency will work to cover all aspects of a website that need optimising. But this is no easy feat, as there is a huge plethora of factors that influence a site’s SEO ranking.
Security is one of the major elements that cannot be overlooked. When people think of SEO, they think keywords, backlinks, site structure and sitemaps. But let’s take a look at how website security can influence your ranking.
SEO & HTTPS Encryption
In 2018, Google announced that by 2019 the search engine would mark all websites as “not secure”. That time has passed, and many websites were marked as “not secure” even before Google’s final announcement.
Now websites have to go HTTPS if they want to win organic traffic without scaring users away from the primary SERPs (search engine result pages).
So, what is HTTPS?
HTTPS is an acronym for “hypertext transfer protocol secure”, and it’s the evolved, secure version of HTTP. You will see a little padlock in your browser’s address bar when visiting an HTTPS-encrypted website.
The encryption allows visitors to exchange data within the website’s server without exposing it to the internet provider, network admin, or any other third party. This is pivotal for websites that require login information for banking, messaging etc.
HTTPS utilises SSL encryption over the HTTP method. SSL certificates can be purchased for a fee, but many hosting providers happily grant them to their users free of charge.
There are innumerable ways your website can be hacked, and many of them go unnoticed for long periods of time. But almost any hacked website ends up losing its Google SERPs ranking and even end up banned from the search engine.
Many websites are hacked because malware has been installed on them. This is done to collect user data or infect the website in some way.
Only around 10 per cent of infected websites are detected by Google, making this a pretty high risk if you’re hacked. Being blacklisted by Google is a serious matter, and it’s not easy to rectify your site after cleaning it.
It’s important to use systematic security scans and have a backup version of your website without recent changes to return to. You can utilise one of the numerous free security serves or purchase a premium one. Just ensure that it has the option to schedule malware scans an alert you if they detect a problem.
What’s more, it’s important to use a backup service that provides different backups. This is for when you make changes and you only have your recent changes saved with an older full backup. This action is taken to save space on your hosting storage. With a quality backup service, you can simply reverse your website to an older, cleaner, version (even when it’s hard to eliminate the malware itself).
In most cases, websites are hacked just for spamming purposes. You might not even notice them until you’ve been hacked. But the attacker will continue to add spam links to a website to advertise a website they want ranked.
This backlink building technique often backfires on the attacker, as search engines will detect them as spam traffic and blacklist them.
Whether lucky or not, Google often fails to recognise SEO spam. So, if this happens to your website, you have time to rectify the problem.
Utilise a security service that tracks all the changes made on your website and warns you when something suspicious pops up. Check for any backdoor that you might have left “open” when using a theme or third-party plugin – this is where spam traffic is typically generated.
Targeted attacks are a less common website hacking method. It’s when you have a rival or enemy who wants nothing more than to take you down.
These attacks are the easiest to detect and rectify with a backup service because they’re a one-time occurrence. However, it will take a little longer to rectify the problem and restore your website. What’s more, if the attack is successful, the impact on SEO can be almost irreversible. But by using a simple and functional backup service you should be able to restore the website with ease.
Website security is vital for being on good terms with Google and thus maintaining a positive SERPs ranking. So, have you ensured that your website is safe from the internet’s troublemakers?