Linux, Web Hosting, and Everything Else in Between
Linux, Web Hosting, and Everything Else in Between

Understanding How Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Impact Your SEO Ranking

intro to cybersecurity

While not obvious at first sight, cybersecurity has an immense role in SEO ranking. There are numerous dangers to which your business is exposed if you don’t recognize the importance of cybersecurity.

The Internet journey for more than 68% of people starts with a search engine, signalizing the importance of taking care of your ranking. SEO improves numerous aspects of a business, but that’s not the topic.

This article explains the intersection between two interesting fields, cybersecurity and SEO. At first glance, they don’t seem connected, but good cybersecurity practices can prevent unnecessary penalties for your website.

Effect of web security on SEO

Although there are more ways in which your website can be harmed through cyber threats, here are some of the most common problems you need to be aware of. Understanding your vulnerabilities can be half the problem.

Infected websites

In the past, there were situations in which Google would altogether blacklist certain websites for containing malware. With the intention of protecting anyone who’s browsing the internet, blacklists aim to prevent malware from spreading to users.

Unfortunately, if your website happens to have a major vulnerability and gets infected by malware, search engines can penalize you. This can plummet your rankings.

SEO spam

Whatever industry you point toward, you will find numerous methods of getting ahead of your competitors. Are all of them ethical? Rarely. SEO spam is a black-hat technique that purposefully lowers the ranking of a certain website.

There are a couple of ways that this can be conducted inside out. Spamming keywords, linking toward blacklisted websites, publishing spammy content, and numerous other methods.

On the other hand, people can also link fraudulent or poorly ranked websites to yours. This can be recognized by regularly checking your backlink profile.

Crawling errors

Bots are an important part of the SEO ecosystem. However, not all of them are used for good. Many crawlers are used for malicious purposes. This includes actions such as scraping content or trying to find vulnerabilities.

Even if these bots don’t manage to successfully conduct attacks on your website, they can still cause problems. For example, because they are constantly attacking your website, legitimate bots from Googlebot won’t be able to crawl your website successfully.

This can be recognized if you stumble upon 404 or 503 errors in your Google Search Console for web pages that you’re sure that they are legitimate.

Website downtime

Website aspects such as speed and security have an important impact on the ranking of the website. The overall downtime can lower your ranking because your website won’t be considered reliable.

Even a few minutes, which are insignificant in the wider picture, can be a sign of unreliability. There are numerous reasons why your website can be down. One of them can be previously discussed as malware. Other problems can include denial-of-service attacks that make your website inaccessible.

Good cybersecurity practices can prevent some of these malicious attacks on the website. However, don’t neglect the idea that downtime can happen because of a poorly developed website or hosting servers that can’t handle the traffic.

Methods of mitigating risks

Now that you’ve understood some of the common problems that can be caused by website vulnerabilities let’s go over the list of methods used to protect them.

While it’s best to use all of these methods at the same time, it’s understandable that not all companies have the budget to implement them equally.

Use the SSL certificate

One of the most basic steps that you should take in terms of cybersecurity is the implementation of an SSL certificate. SSL is a networking protocol that ensures that the traffic between your website and the user is secure.

If you’ve noticed, there’s a padlock sign left of the URL on your web browser. This is because you’re reading this article on a website that has a secure connection. Search engines don’t prefer websites that aren’t secure.

Furthermore, once you open a website that’s not secure, you’re met with the warning that this website isn’t secure. This also turns away many potential visitors from proceeding with opening your website.

Cybersecurity audits

To receive an overall protected and secure website, you should find a professional who will conduct a cybersecurity audit. Although this can be expensive, remember that no website is considered too insignificant to be attacked by hackers.

Adequate cybersecurity protocols for your website and your company can help you protect not only your website but also individual employees and your business as a whole. Through different types of pentesting, cybersecurity experts can test the weaknesses of your website and help you with fixing them.

The end goal of cybersecurity audits is to ensure that your website isn’t vulnerable to hacking methods. If you happen to lead a large company, it will be useful to conduct cybersecurity training courses.

Training your employees can help your company defend against common online threats such as phishing attempts, trojans, and other types of malware.

Hiring proper SEO experts

While SEO can be done at times completely free, you can do a lot more harm than good. Finding a company or an individual that will conduct a proper SEO campaign can help you not only protect yourself from damaging your ranking but also boost it in the long run.

If you’re based in the United Kingdom, finding UK-based SEO firms can help you get ahead of your competition regardless of the industry that you’re in. At best, poor SEO practices can lead to lowered traffic and ranking, but at worst, they can seriously penalize your website.

Common SEO practices include keyword stuffing, cloaking, having duplicate content, or plagiarizing content from other websites.

Updating CMS and plugins

One of the most important actions you need to take to ensure a secure website is to regularly update your content management system and plugins. Some of the largest data breaches happened because the companies were using outdated websites.

As a website owner, you need to do research on the most stable version of plugins and CMS that you’re using and then adequately update it. New software updates are often fixing bugs and vulnerabilities of previous versions, which is why it’s important to be aware of them.

Although outdated plugins won’t directly impact your ranking, these vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers and then used to execute other harmful activities.

You should also research whether there are useful security plugins that can help you with making your website more secure.

Reasons why websites can be attacked

In the current era, websites are considered property, just like a house or a car. Each website has a certain use and a number of people that visit it. Websites of e-commerce businesses often have users who are leaving their financial information.

Other websites are simply fitting targets for building backlinks. Don’t neglect the idea that someone wants to take over a website to sell it. Furthermore, some hackers are after the data that the website is collecting.

Depending on your location, there are certain regulations that your business must adhere to. However, your website must satisfy regulations as well. If you’re based in Europe, you should do thorough research on how to be compliant with GDPR. On the other hand, Californians need to understand CCPA website requirements.

If your website’s security compromise leads to data leakage, then you will be the one responsible. This can lead to fines and blows to your reputation. So not only that you should ensure website security for adequate ranking, but you should also avoid fines for failing to adhere to regulations.

Cybersecurity can be essential for your SEO ranking

Once you understand the effects of cybersecurity on SEO, as well as how to prevent wrongdoers from harming your business, you’ve set a firm foundation. You might struggle to understand where a threat can come from, but it’s best to be safe than sorry.

This article has hopefully helped you understand what the vulnerabilities that one’s business might have are and how to mitigate them. Some of the methods from this list won’t cost you a lot, while others require a budget set out for them.

Overall, spending money on the protection of your website can pay out in numerous ways. Whether good cybersecurity practices prevent a data breach, SEO spam, or your website gets hacked, each of these problems would cost you a lot more than the money you’ve invested into cybersecurity.

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