Most companies live in a haze of misconception that SEO has nothing to do with cybersecurity. It’s a myth. As important as your SEO strategies are, being unable to pair them up with strong cybersecurity measures can break your efforts down within a single night even if you survive the attack itself.
Let’s discuss how cybersecurity affects SEO and how you can prevent it from ever happening.
What Is Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a mix of digital and physical approaches to safeguard your systems, networks, and websites from digital attacks that are aimed towards damaging, changing, or accessing critical information.
As cyberattacks are growing in both frequency and severity, and as the search engines consider cybersecurity a necessary element, it has become an important SEO component today.
What Is SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of practices that affects the ranking of your website and its content. Although you can’t pay Google to make you rank on search engine result pages (SERPs) organically, it’s possible to follow the inferred SEO rules to do the same in accordance with your link-building services.
How Cybersecurity Affects SEO
A cyberattack is detrimental to your reputation and customer privacy. If your customers don’t feel safe visiting your website, they won’t buy your services or product.
As this happens too often, search engines have taken radical measures to prevent such websites from appearing in the search results.
Let’s see how cybersecurity affects SEO:
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates ensure that a website is protected and encrypted from the servers to the web browsers.
Google has been quite explicit about considering SSL certificates of websites for SEO ranking. What it means for you is that your HTTPS pages have more potential to rank higher than non-HTTPS pages.
If you still don’t have SSL certificates installed on your website, it’s high time that you make use of them as those are typically bundled for free with your hosting plan.
Most mainstream browsers recognize SSL certifications and subtly let the users know about them. Your audience might not notice a faint green icon of safety, but they’ll certainly notice a bright red one.
Proxy Servers and Protection
Proxies fundamentally protect your IP address from getting detected by cyberattackers and social media. When you send a lot of messages and interact with your clients on a daily basis by sending promotional materials, it’s possible that the social media algorithms will mark you as spam and block your account.
To protect your reputation and promote your content geographically, it’s best to use residential proxies while practicing SEO techniques. Proxies can also help your website load faster.
While building backlinks as an SEO strategy, proxies help you mask the IP address to ensure that web crawlers are blind about the origin of the backlinks and can correlate each link with a fresh IP address.
You can also be a little cheeky by using proxies to scrape data from other competitor websites.
Browser and SERP Blocking
Site Compromisation Penalties
Google, and every other major search engine, keeps track of the user interaction on your indexed pages. If your site was attacked and is causing unauthorized downloads and redirections, Google penalizes you by bringing you down on SERPs.
It’s a harsh reality that may seem out of your control, but it effectively isn’t. Google expects you to take cybersecurity seriously and these drastic measures are taken to ensure that we, the users, don’t end up getting attacked.
As stated before, Google keeps close track of your website content and codes. If anything out of ordinary is noticed by the crawlers, they can block your audience from accessing your content. Downtime is one such factor. Although it’s not very common for search engines to block you from having technical issues, it’s not unheard of.
If your website is hacked, the hackers can redirect your customers to error pages causing them to bounce back. Which is a prominent indication that the users aren’t having the best time on your website. If that happens often, your SERP rank will plummet despite the best SEO efforts.
If you keep allowing malicious bots, your SEO strategies won’t be as effective as they should be. Malicious bots that can scrape user and content data are detrimental to your SEO strategies. The bad bots can steal your content and post it somewhere without your knowledge. And when the good bots (Google) crawl your pages, they find similar content somewhere and flag you.
How to Safekeep SEO From Cyber Attacks
Now, as you’ve learned about how cybersecurity affects SEO, let’s take a look at how you can stay safe.
Look Out for Warning Signs
Browser blacklisting, site compromisation penalties, unauthorized website changes, downtime notifications, content not indexing, sudden rank loss are critical symptoms of a failing cybersecurity measure. If you encounter any of these too often, make your tech team diagnose the issue and come up with a solution. Ignoring the vulnerabilities is detrimental to SEO.
Check Google Console
Allow Google Console to check every website that you have and keep track of the vulnerability data it generates. As Google checks for malware and viruses on your websites, it keeps notifying you about it. Don’t ignore any notification from Console.
Use a Firewall
You can block certain IPs or regions out of your network by installing a firewall. If you notice irregular activities from particular IPs, you can block their access altogether. Although there’s a chance of it being false positive, it’s well worth it.
In contrast, you can also implement captchas to keep bots away.
Opt for a Malware Scanner
Don’t rely on Google to scan your website for viruses. Do it yourself by installing a scanner to supervise your network file system. If any malware was found, act accordingly.
The Bottom Line
Cybersecurity is a major concern for SEO in today’s world. If you are confident about your SSL certificates, proxies, browser blacklisting, penalties, and sudden website changes, you’re way ahead of the cybercriminals and can keep ranking higher.
But, if you still lack such departments or have noticed any of the above-mentioned vulnerabilities on your website, discuss with your tech team and find a solution as soon as possible.