Here’s How Your Website Security Can Impact SEO Outcomes
Those with a basic understanding of search engine optimization probably understand its importance in a variety of areas. Grasping how keywords in content can impact search performance – as well as inbound links, bounce rates and other metrics – is fairly commonplace. However, SEO is very complex and involves a litany of technical considerations that many never truly consider.
One such example is the security and functionality of a particular website. It might seem silly to some, but the integrity of your website and protections for it can have a huge impact on whether you rank on the first page of a given SERP or not. Ensuring that all necessary security measures are taken to protect both your website and its visitors is paramount.
To highlight some specifics, let’s examine how a lack of proper security can actually create weaker overall SEO performances for your brand.
Users and Shoppers Insist on Security
SEO is influenced by hundreds of different factors, with one major set of factors pertaining to user behavior. Ultimately, how visitors choose to interact (or not) with your website establishes leading indicators for how search engines assess your rankings. If for whatever reason a large percentage of people who visit your website leave shortly thereafter, then this indicates to search engines that something is amiss and the content in question isn’t relevant.
How does this pertain to security? Consider this: sites that do not use HTTPS certificates are increasingly finding themselves being shunned by users and browsers alike. Most people do not want to be pinging your website and transmitting information if the connection is not secure – and they surely don’t want to make purchases in such a situation. This is one of many scenarios where a lack of security can cost you sales and traffic alike, as higher bounce rates nerf your rankings.
Visibility Is Diminished in SERPs
There are many ranking signals for appearing in SERPs via Google and other search engines. Ultimately, it has been established that SSL is in fact a ranking signal and has been so for the past 5 years. While not perhaps a huge signal, it can undoubtedly impact your visibility in SERPs in conjunction with the previously-mentioned issues.
Security Breaches Can Lead to Disaster
Secure certificates aren’t the only aspect of website security that can impact SEO: general security measures such as plug-ins and passwords can affect it as well. Every day, millions of websites are compromised by a plethora of security breaches and malware attacks. If your website suddenly becomes one of them, there are many negative things that can occur.
For example, malicious entities may install scripts on your website to fetch user information or insert various links and keywords in an attempt to promote their own causes. The end result is that these black-hat tactics can be identified by search engines quickly, resulting in them pinging your website with penalties (which nerfs your visibility at best, and leads to consumer data theft at worst).
Security is a huge component of a successful web presence in general, but it also matters with respect to SEO. Security breaches and flaws can lead to reduced rankings in search, data theft, fewer sales and less traffic overall. Do not scoff at the need for security on your website, regardless of size or niche: both search engines and visitors will thank you for taking these matters seriously!