Businesses work hard to build their rankings in search engines. It can take years for a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to begin paying off, and when Google finally starts generating high levels of traffic, it can be devastating to lose those rankings. Unfortunately, there are cybersecurity threats that can wipe out your SEO in seconds, destroying everything your marketing team has worked for. Here are the threats you need to be aware of so you can protect your company’s SEO.
Malware Installed On Your Site
Google regularly scans websites for malware, and if a site is found to include malicious code that could damage a user’s system or expose their personal information, that website is immediately blacklisted. When a potential customer sees your website in a search result, Google will first display a warning to deter the user from clicking. If the infection is not addressed quickly, the site can be removed from search results entirely.
Google shoots first and asks questions later, so it doesn’t matter if your site was infected by a hacker, they will take immediate action and then ask you to make the fix.
Content Scraping By Bots
Every second, there are bots that scan the internet for content, copy it and publish it to other (often questionable) websites. This practice is known as scraping and it can negatively impact your SEO. Content quality is a factor in search rankings and if your copy is duplicated to a questionable website, it will throw your credibility into question by Google’s algorithm.
Even if the site is not questionable, your rankings could suffer. If Google’s crawlers find the scraped content first, that website could benefit from higher rankings while yours is penalized by ranking lower.
Lack of SSL Certificate
Google is very serious about SSL certificates. SSL guarantees that customer data like payment information and login credentials are encrypted and protected. Users can tell if your site has SSL because the URL begins with “https” and a padlock icon is displayed.
Lack of SSL certification isn’t necessarily a cyberthreat, but it means that visitors could be putting their information at risk by using your site. That’s why Google uses SSL as a ranking factor, and sites without SSL display a warning for users letting them know that the connection could be insecure. That warning makes the user click that they understand the threat to their data before they proceed, or gives them the opportunity to back out of your website and try a competitor instead.
Are You Protecting Your SEO?
So, what can you do to protect your search rankings? First, insist your team run a daily malware scan to identify and remove malicious content. Next, leverage a web application firewall (WAF) to protect against scraping. Finally, take the time to add an SSL certificate to keep user information safe.
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If you are ready to build a stronger IT security team within your organization, contact the tech recruiting experts at Talon. We will connect you with the highly-skilled professionals you need to keep your systems safe and your SEO protected.