Having a fast, attractive, informative and easy to navigate website is what a lot of people work on to improve their SEO rankings. Securing their website is often seen as a separate thing, but website security is in fact closely related to SEO too, and here is why.
Search engines, namely Google, want to deliver first class, relevant content to its users. They want to serve content that is safe and that will create a good user experience. This means that any pages that score low in terms of suitable content, readability, and security concerns, won’t make the top spot.
So, what can you do to improve your ranking and security, to turn Google’s frown upside down?
Our top 5 tips
Install a SSL certificate and use HTTPS on all your pages, links and content
If Google scans your website and finds any unsecured links just using HTTP, then it will see it as a security concern, and you may not be a favourite anymore.
Set up your security headers
Security headers are instructions given to web pages to prevent unwanted visitor behaviour, which may compromise your website. If you have no security headers, then it makes it easier for a hacker to exploit your website. Once exploited, your website could be taken over and manipulated to carry out illegal activities. Google will spot this and blacklist your website as it will be seen as a malicious site. Your website will no longer appear in any search results. All past SEO efforts will be wasted.
Update your software
Often the backend of the website is ignored as the front end is the business end. But regularly keeping your WordPress system up to date, as well as the plugins and themes that you use is crucial. Old versions may have flaws and hackers will know about these flaws and exploit them. And as before, your site will get compromised and be treated by Google as a malicious site.
Remove or monitor your comment sections
If your website invites comments from visitors without any checks, then you will most likely be exposed to spam comments. Whilst they may seem like just a nuisance, some can be harmful to your SEO. Unwanted links or scripts may be inserted into certain elements of the comments form. These links once clicked will take your visitors to unscrupulous websites or will try to trick you into running or downloading dangerous code. This behaviour once detected will quickly remove your SEO brownie points. If you need and value your comments, then vet them. Otherwise decide if you need this section at all.
Scan your website
We all have antivirus software on our laptop and desktop computers, which run automatically, or we start manually if we think we may have a problem. Well, your website is no different in that it has files that could contain unwanted viruses. You may have a website infection that has not been detected and that could be slowly eroding your SEO and doing untold harm. So, it is important to regularly scan your website files, looking for common hacks and suspicious changes. Undetected infections will also be present in your backups, so it is best to spot these as soon as you can.
These are five simple methods that can be used to protect your website and your SEO ranking.
It’s quick and easy to find out if your website is fully secure and search engine friendly – you can learn more about our technical audit here.