Why Site Security Matters for SEO

Search engine optimization requires a litany of skills to execute in its totality, but many find success without ever fully mastering its potential. That’s because there are a number of ways to improve your website and its visibility; from generating backlinks to targeting keywords with minimal competition, there are paths for many.

However, protecting any gains is crucial. Sometimes, this means fighting off competitors. Other times, it means fighting off potential security threats.

Site security is absolutely essential in maintaining (or improving) SEO performance. Today, we’ll discuss why.

Spamming Can Affect SEO

One of the most commonly-used tactics by hackers who gain access to a website is to inject spam into its pages. Since the average website possesses little direct data to the hacker in terms of money, financial information or consumer data, using the website as a springboard for boosting traffic to other sites is often used.

This can take the form of injecting hyperlinks into various pages that trick users into clicking on them. This can help the site in question with regard to SEO, but can harm yours if/once the site is discovered to be using questionable tactics and you’re pinging links their way.

Malware Is Dangerous to SEO

If your website has information that hackers believe to be valuable, but they either cannot access the information currently or do not wish to spend personal time doing so, then malware may be used. Malware is often utilized to crack site data and extract valuable contents from it.

Search engines can often detect this malware once installed, which will send up huge red flags when scanning your website. As a result, search engines may penalize you or warn users when they click on links in search results aimed at your website. The end result: less traffic and less optimal SEO outcomes.

Plugins Can Hurt, Too

If you’re running a popular content management solution like WordPress, then you are especially vulnerable to security breaches. Plugins are a big vulnerability that can exist under the surface of an otherwise secure website, just waiting for hackers to exploit them.

In many cases, whenever plugins are updated, patch notes are used by hackers to find vulnerabilities in previous versions. They then look for websites that have not yet updated their plugins, sometimes being able to abuse these vulnerabilities to gain access.

Prime Tips for Improving Site Security

As alluded to above, it is always important to update your plugins whenever a new update is available. Likewise, keep a solid password that utilizes a variety of uppercase, lowercase, numerical and symbol-based characters – ideally in conjunction with two-factor authentication. Occasionally conduct an audit of your website, looking to see if anybody is pinging links back to their own websites by adding them to yours or if any other major changes have occurred.

If you follow the above advice, you’ll be able to more effectively detect any security issues with your website – or avoid them altogether. Website security matters because everything from seemingly innocuous links to out-of-date plugins can cause vulnerabilities for you and your visitors. By keeping your eyes open and your fundamentals secure, you can reduce or even eliminate the chances of a future breach.

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