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Guide to Understanding How Website Security Affects SEO

Online Security

Online security is the practice of protecting all the digital resources, computers, servers, websites, data and networks from cyberattacks. Online security is one of the critical business and organization functions that can determine the success of a business. Unfortunately, today, the internet is not safe anymore. 

The winning strategy you should apply is to have proper online security measures that can help you protect your systems from cyber insecurities. Adhering to the best security practices will have a lot of benefits to your organization. This article explains the link between the two elements. Before we go any further, let us first understand the meaning of website ranking. 

Website Ranking

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the mechanism that determines where and how to rank websites in the search engine result pages. 

As you are aware, people and websites tend to have similar content. Therefore, searchers will prefer the content that appears first on the search engine results pages. You want your searchers to read and view your content and not your competitor’s. As such, you must be willing to set the content so that it appears top in the search engines. In so doing, you will beat your competitors, increase your traffic, conversion rates and profits. 

Google and other Search engines use several ranking factors to determine websites’ position in search engine results pages. One of the factors that google pays much attention to is the website security factor. 

Understanding the Link Between Website Security and SEO

An adage goes- “better safe than sorry.” Search engines are taking this adage seriously. One of the objectives of Google is to ensure that all users are safe. Therefore, Google and other search engines give much weight to secure websites for Search Engine Optimizations to spur user safety. 

https://www.seoclerk.com/faq/21110/5-SEO-Reasons-and-Benefits-for-Using-HTTPS-Websites-in-2017

No business wants to drop in SEO rankings. However, it is a competitive world, and if you’re going to rule the first results pages in search engines, you must start taking your website security seriously. You are probably wondering how the security of your websites impacts your SEO ranking. 

Here is how…

  • Google Blacklist Unsafe Websites

Google blacklists at least ten thousand suspicious websites daily. You might have already encountered a blacklisted website with the error message “This site may harm your computer.” Most users who meet this message will opt to turn away from the website. 

For instance, the website might contain malware. To ensure that you do not fall on Google’s blacklist, you must ensure that you frequently clean up your website to ensure that no form of malware or viruses is found on your website. If you become blacklisted, you must work fast to clean your website and ensure that it is free from malware infections or security vulnerabilities. One thing you ought to understand is that Google can never blacklist a safe website. It is upon you to decide whether to remain insecure and get blacklisted or secure and improve your ranks in the search engine results pages. 

  • Lack of HTTPS Will Impact Your Google Rankings

The Secure Socket Layer certificate is an essential tool for ensuring cybersecurity. The Secure Sockets Layer certificate (popularly abbreviated as SSL certificate) blends with the HTTP protocol to give rise to the HTTPS protocol that ensures the safe transfer of information between web servers and web browsers. Back in 2015, Google announced that it would provide ranking priorities to the HTTPS websites. Ever since Google made the announcement, websites that have reigned the first search engines pages have been served over the HTTPS protocol. 

Previous studies seem to agree that there is a positive correlation between the presence of the SSL certificate and high rankings in the SERPs. 

You must start thinking about purchasing an SSL certificate for your website if you intend to rank high in the search engines results pages. Therefore, every domain and segment should have an SSL certificate. Luckily for you, you do not have to purchase a different SSL certificate for every first-level subdomain. Instead, you need a single Wildcard SSL certificate, such as a Comodo Positive SSL Wildcard, Thawte Wildcard SSL, RapidSSL Wildcard certificate etc. and you will be good to go. This will afford premium protection to your chosen main domain and an unlimited number of first-level subdomains that you add under it.

With SEO, there are no shortcuts. It is a do or die. Always ensure that you are using the HTTPS protocol. It will not only help secure your data as it moves between your website and your users’ browsers, but it will also help you improve your rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages. 

  • Trust Matters

If your website is insecure, Google will flag it as “Not Secure.” Users who see these error messages would opt out immediately from your websites. This explains why most users prefer HTTPS websites. Google Transparency Report states that 93.2% of browsing time on Google chrome was spent on HTTPS websites. Users no longer trust insecure websites. Expect high bounce rates if your website is insecure. High bounce rates come with a poor reputation which can hurt your SEO.

  • Crawling Errors

Bots are vital because they generate a significant amount of web traffic. Therefore, your website and its traffic will not be of any benefit without the support of bots. A bot refers to a software application that fetches, analyze and generate results and information from different web servers. This process is what is referred to as crawling. 

However, you ought to understand that not all bots are friendly. Usually, bots will index results based on what they find. Malicious actors also built bots that crawl around. The malicious bots will scan a website to identify vulnerable spots for security breaches. Constant attacks from malicious bots can prevent Google bots from reaching your website. Such is what is referred to as crawling errors. 

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Crawling errors harm the load times. As you might already know, loading speed is one of the most significant websites ranking factors you should know. Therefore, you must eliminate the malicious bots from your website.

Conclusion

Website security plays a significant role in website rankings. If you own a website and wish to rank high in the Search Engine Results Pages, you must start by securing your website. This article has explained the two concepts- website security and website ranking, and how the two are related.

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