I am a creative and passionated tech and SEO wizard.
Search engine optimization - or SEO - has grown over the years into one of the most, if not the most important, marketing initiative. By focusing on SEO, your business will get your marketing budget back while creating a strong foundation for your online presence.
The increasing awareness of what SEO can lead to has also increased the competition within the rankings for specific keywords. Thus, having the correct marketer will most definitely make the difference in whether or not your business will succeed within the field.
In the world of SEO, there are lots of different ranking factors that you should be aware of. In this blog post, my focus is on one of the more technical ranking factors, which is how cybersecurity directly affects your SEO performance.
Your website's security is not only important regarding the safety of your website and all of the data within. If your website has been damaged by a cyberattack, it is likely that you will also lose important traffic and rankings in search engines.
Any marketer working with SEO is aware of how the game works. You cannot buy organic results, you have to earn it by thorough work and lots of patience. Sometimes these results don't come at the expected pace and it’s easy to get caught up in figuring out how to serve Google’s algorithm correctly.
But in reality, it’s all about meeting search intent and to make sure that the user experience for the visitor is smooth and as intuitive as possible. Present your visitors with E-A-T content (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) and make sure it’s easy to navigate through your pillars and clusters.
But all of the above comes down to one thing. Why should your potential visitors want to click on your site, if they are not 100% sure that it’s safe?
If your website doesn’t already have an HTTPS status then you should get one immediately. It’s the first and a very important step in showing that the data on your website is secured. What you’ll need to do is to purchase an SSL certificate.
Furthermore, it’s very likely that your site would look outdated and you careless about your visitors, if you don't have an SSL certificate. And to make sure that people would switch to the HTTPS distinction, Google made this a ranking factor years ago.
Getting blacklisted by Google or other search engines will most definitely have an impact on your rankings. Even if you clean up your site after a cyberattack, you are not actually sure to get all your rankings back. In addition, it will also take a while before Google notices the change and positive changes happen in your rankings again.
As mentioned in the paragraph above, you have to earn your rankings and organic results. And if you have ever worked with link building, you are probably aware of the importance of making sure that the links you get are trustworthy.
Furthermore, you also have to produce high-quality content while meeting the search intent and creating value for the reader. Therefore you should always produce thoroughly and unique content.
Having both of these elements is something that you should always aim for. But this is also what the hackers have an interest in. If your website is getting lots of traffic due to increasing popularity coming from high-quality content and you at the same time lack website security, you’ll probably be exactly what a hacker is looking for.
And it’s very likely that the intent of the cyberattack is to place links on your website or to redirect some of your pages to other sites, with the intention of stealing some of your traffic. If this is the case, it is also very likely that these websites are sites that you probably don’t want to be associated with. When Google and other search engines see that your site suddenly links to spammy or unsecured websites, they will potentially blacklist your site.
What you can do to make sure that Google doesn't penalize you for being hacked is to do everything you can to protect your site and increase the overall integrity of the domain. This includes: keeping your CMS and all add-ons/plugins fully up to date, running daily backups, and using highly-secure passwords (and maybe even implement two-factor authentication).
Due to different data breach scandals, many people are very aware of the first impression they get when visiting a new site. If you don’t feel comfortable right away - by for example seeing HTTPS, good reviews, or a generally well-produced site - then you’ll probably leave as fast as you got there.
And this can actually be a bigger problem than you might think.
Every new website should focus on establishing a protective online environment to prevent your site from having high bounce rates, which can be related to people associating your site with being unreliable, confusing, and phishy. If this is the case, they probably won’t visit again.
Have you already created a negative image for yourself in your (potential) customers eyes, it will take quite some time to redo your image and to regain your credibility.
The most important thing when it comes to this specific problem, but also website security in general is to get back to the core of SEO.
Which is, to make sure that your visitors feel comfortable while being on the site, but also to make sure that they leave your site in an excited and positive state of mind. This will result in lower bounce rates and probably also good reviews on Trustpilot which, furthermore, increase the overall credibility of your website.
Being aware of cybersecurity for your company and website has always been crucial and the year 2021 will be no different. If you want to learn more about what kind of cyber attacks to be on the look for and why cybersecurity is quite important, I recommend you read this article published by LogPoint: “Cyber security: definition, importance and benefits of cyber security.”
Have a happy and secure 2021!
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