Cybersecurity and SEO: Unlocking the Connection that Impacts Your Rankings

Cybersecurity SEO

The Rising Importance of Cybersecurity

How Cybersecurity Impacts SEO

The Results of Poor Cybersecurity SEO

Best Practices for Cybersecurity SEO

Steps to Improve Your Website Security and SEO Ranking

Invest in Cybersecurity SEO

Cybersecurity and SEO:

Everything You Need to Know for Success

Cybersecurity SEO strategies may be more valuable to your business than you think.

After all, making sure you rank well on the search engine results pages requires more than a commitment to keyword research, content marketing, and link building. Google also evaluates each website based on the user experience it can give customers.

In other words, if your site isn’t considered to be safe, reliable, and secure, then Google isn’t going to drive potential customers your way. Investing in the right cybersecurity measures can protect your business from a range of issues, from damage to your reputation, to issues with customer experience. Plus, it ensures all of your other SEO practices can actually pay off.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the basics of cybersecurity SEO, and why you should include security measures in your search engine strategy.

The Rising Importance of Cybersecurity

Let’s start with the basics: why is cybersecurity so important to both the search engines, and your consumers? In simple terms, as people continue to spend more of their lives online, they want to ensure their data is kept safe and secure. Similarly, businesses investing in the digital world need to ensure they’re keeping their intellectual property (IP), and data resources protected.

The evolving digital ecosystem is a treacherous place, where every company, no matter its size or industry, is a potential target for attackers. What’s more, the cybersecurity attacks are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, as today’s criminals take advantage of new software, artificial intelligence, and convincing phishing scams.

According to the latest stats, cybercrime will cost companies worldwide around $10.5 trillion per year in revenue and lost opportunities. Not only does investing in cybersecurity protect you from serious losses, but it also ensures you can:

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Defend your most valuable assets: Data and intellectual property are among the most valuable assets businesses have. Losing these resources could mean you struggle to stay profitable in your industry. Cybercrime can effectively destroy a business.

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Maintain customer trust: While consumers are becoming more trusting of digital brands, they expect you to get to the right lengths to keep their data secure. Evidence of a security breach tells customers you may not be as reliable as you seem.

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Avoid penalties: Failure to protect essential data could mean that you’re not compliant with crucial industry and federal regulations. This may lead to expensive fines and penalties for brands who can’t protect their data.

How Cybersecurity Impacts SEO

Crucially, cybersecurity isn’t just important for preserving your brand assets and reputation, it can also be an important factor in determining your SEO ranking. Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving, taking various factors into account when deciding which content to present to searchers. However, one thing Google always focuses on, is delivering an excellent experience.

Increasingly, this means Google, and other search engines, have been using cybersecurity factors as signals to determine the kind of user experiences businesses deliver to a brand. Search engines examine everything from whether you have an SSL certificate in place on your website, to how much customers actually trust your business when determining your rankings.

Not to mention, cybersecurity issues can also have an indirect impact on your SEO score too. If you’re hit by an attack, then your SEO performance may go down for a few days, or fail to perform as effectively as it once did, pushing more customers to abandon your business. The more customers bounce away from your site, the lower your authority score falls with Google.

The Results of Poor Cybersecurity SEO

Ultimately, investing in excellent security for your website is one of the first things you should do to ensure you have the foundations in place for excellent SEO efforts. Even before you start your keyword analysis, or begin creating content, you should be checking your site for security issues.

Fail to implement the right strategies, and your business could suffer from:

1. Damage to your Search Engine Rankings

Poor cybersecurity SEO doesn’t just make it harder for you to appeal to the search engines, it can also push your website further down in the search engine results, making it tougher for customers to find you. Even if visitors do encounter your site, they may see messages from Google that dissuade them from clicking through to your pages.

Since 2014, Google has used SSL certification as a ranking factor in its algorithm, and now displays a warning to customers next to any site listing that doesn’t have an SSL certificate. To make matters worse, when search engines detect security issues on your site, such as malware, they can instantly blacklist your domain, meaning it will no longer appear in the search result at all.

2. Website Speed and User Experience Issues

Even if you invest endless time and money into ChatGPT and SEO content creation strategies, you still won’t see results if you’re not delivering a phenomenal user experience on your site. If criminals implement phishing attacks, ransomware, or malware into your website, this will slow down your site’s performance, break pages, and make content harder to load. Even if a customer manages to get onto your site, they may not be able to access the content they need.

Not only does this increase the chances of your customers hitting the back button and looking for a competing site instead, but slow website speeds also significantly harm your SEO rankings. What’s more, criminals can steal content directly from your site, and place it on their own websites, making it harder for you to differentiate yourself from the competition, and capture the engagement of your audience. Some criminals may even use links to drive customers away from your pages.

3. Link Building Issues

Link building is an important part of the content marketing and SEO tactics. However poor cybersecurity practices could mean that your links fail to deliver the results you want. Criminals can use malicious link injection strategies to add spammy and low-quality links to your content without your knowledge, harming the authority of your site. They can also use these links for phishing purposes and scams, which could mean your customers start to associate you with criminal behavior.

If criminals set out to destroy your reputation, they can even leverage black hat SEO strategies like keyword stuffing and cloaking, which can lead to heavy penalties from Google. You might even find you struggle to rebuild your presence on the search engines after an attack.

4. Damage to your Brand Reputation

As mentioned above, poor cybersecurity SEO practices don’t just harm your presence online, they also have a direct impact on your reputation. Failing to protect yourself properly against potential attacks could mean that you struggle to convert visitors to customers in the years to come.

In some cases, criminals can even leverage specific tactics like brandjacking and impersonation to harm your presence online. They might create fake social media profiles, or copied versions of your site with the intention of stealing credentials and data from customers. This can lead to serious fines, legal issues, and the loss of critical customers for your brand.

Best Practices for Cybersecurity SEO: How to Get Ahead

Ultimately, implementing the right cybersecurity SEO strategy takes time and focus. You’ll need to commit to regularly auditing and analyzing your site, implementing the right protection tools, and keeping track of potential threats, suspicious activity, and risks. Here are some of the most important steps you can take to stay one step ahead of the criminals:

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Invest in secure website design: First and foremost, make sure you design your site from the ground up to be as secure as possible. Work with professional developers to minimize any gaps in your code, and choose a reputable hosting provider to keep your site running smoothly. Make sure your site also has its own SSL certificate, as this will encrypt information sent between you and the customers visiting your site.

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Website hardening and firewall protection: Implementing website hardening measures, such as intrusion detection systems, firewalls, and access controls like two factor authentication, can significantly help to protect your website from attack. Make sure you’re using all the right security measures to protect your data, prevent malware infections, and alert your technical team if any risks or threats emerge.

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Manage your content: Effective content management is crucial for SEO and cybersecurity alike. Regularly updating and backing up your website can help to protect you against data loss in case of data theft. Conducting the right keyword research can ensure you avoid falling into any black hat SEO habits, and duplicate content checks give you an insight into other companies that might be trying to imitate your brand.

Steps to Improve Your Website Security and SEO Ranking

Good cybersecurity SEO requires a proactive approach. The more effort you put into developing the right strategies, the less likely you are to encounter issues. Here are some of the most important steps any business can take to secure and protect their site:

1. Learn to Recognize the Warning Signs

First, it’s crucial to be able to recognize the signs of an impending, or existing attack. Don’t wait until your rankings drop to start investigating an issue, keep an eye on:

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Google alerts and notifications: A Google alert telling you your site isn’t available can show you instantly that your site has been hacked. Visit your Google Search Console and click on the “security issues” section to pinpoint any potentially hacked URLs.

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Strange JavaScript code: The presence of unusual code on your website is another major red flag. These codes are typically used by hackers to steal information such as passwords, email addresses, and even payment card details from your site. Delete unusual code immediately.

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Problematic login credentials: While we all forget our passwords from time to time, if your login credentials don’t work and you know they’re right, this could be a sign that criminals have altered your information, and are using your site to their advantage.

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Frequent error messages: Frequent pop-ups and error messages on your site could be a sign that black hat SEO criminals are attempting to damage your site to improve their own site’s rankings. Make sure you watch out for any error messages or pop-ups redirecting customers.

2. Embed Security Checks into your Routine

The chances are you already have a comprehensive strategy for SEO and marketing that you and your team follow on a regular basis. Adding security checks to this routine could be an excellent way to minimize your risk of mistakes.

Every time you update your website with new content, or you check your results with ranking metrics, make sure you examine your website for any potential security issues. At the same time, make sure your employees are well-versed on how to keep your site secure. Provide training sessions, documentation, and guidance on phishing attacks and social engineering to team members, to ensure they’ll be less likely to leave gaps in your security.

3. Use Effective Scanning Tools

Sometimes, sophisticated cybersecurity attacks can be difficult to recognize at a glance, particularly if you don’t have a great deal of training in this industry. With this in mind, it’s worth utilizing specialist tools to help you monitor and assess your site. Malware scanners and tools can look at website code to check for pages that store malware or strange code.

There are plenty of excellent solutions out there, such as Sucuri SiteCheck, or the Web Inspector app. Use these resources to quickly pinpoint any security issues you may need to fix. If you have some technical knowledge, you could consider using open-source web analytics tools like AWStats to track log files for suspicious activity or content.

It’s even worth using SEO tools like Ahrefs and Majestic to track your backlink profile, and make sure other companies aren’t adding links to your content without your knowledge.

4. Consider a VPN

If you’re implementing additional tools to secure your site, you might consider using a VPN too. A large network is particularly susceptible to human error and attacks. VPN solutions can help to minimize the risk of security errors and risks. A stable VPN, used by all of your employees, encrypted sensitive data, so hackers can’t gain access to the information you’re sharing.

VPN solutions can also intercept malicious phishing attempts and software from gaining access to your system, with integrated firewalls and protection tools. These solutions can be particularly valuable if you have remote employees in your team, as they put extra defenses in place for anyone who might be logging into your site from an unsecure location.

Invest in Cybersecurity SEO

Ultimately, cybersecurity and SEO aren’t two entirely separate concepts. You can’t have a strong ranking with Google if you don’t invest in providing your customers with an excellent experience. Implementing the right cybersecurity measures, and taking appropriate precautions can improve your SEO potential, strengthen your relationships with customers, and improve your revenue.

Learn more about how you can build an SEO strategy that puts cybersecurity first today, by contacting the experts at Amplifyed. With years of experience in our industry, we know how to help you build your online presence, and keep it secure.

Scott Johnson

Founder

Hey! I live in San Diego and have been involved with SEO since 2010. Our amazing team at Amplifyed specializes in helping SaaS and tech companies dominate the search rankings. We serve as an extension of your team to make sure your content ranks and drives the right people to your website. Let’s connect on LinkedIn and schedule a chat.

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