SEO efforts are a major part of any successful online enterprise. Yet the increase in the number of online scams, hacks and general criminal activity makes cybersecurity a must in virtually every space.
That’s because breaches to a single device that accesses your website (or loss of access to an account through phishing) could compromise page rankings in a way not easy to recover from. Yet everyday companies and website administrators skirt by, hoping that minimal cybersecurity efforts will be enough.
Unfortunately, minimal efforts are not enough. Security is a necessary part of any SEO effort, partially because at times it accomplishes the same end and partially because protecting gains is an absolute must.
Here’s why protecting your SEO efforts is vital:
Breaches and Hacks Undermine SEO
As you know, the job of SEO is to get visitors to find your page before others. This is done by combining high-quality content with targeted keywords to create pages users would be more likely to visit.
Google’s web crawlers routinely target pages to “rate” them based on how recent and relevant their content is. But nothing kills page relevance like your website getting infected with malware or holding malicious scripting (such as that found in XSS attacks). These scripts are designed to steal information or infect victims with malware and Google (rightfully) wants to protect users from that.
Worse yet, many of these pages are automatically flagged with “infected by malware,” which is something visible to the majority of users before even clicking your page’s site. Therefore, efforts need to be made to maintain a website’s safety and legitimacy. Otherwise, its page rankings will plummet.
Unsecure Devices Are a Source of Breaches
What some companies don’t know is that the rise in the number of independent devices has changed the cybersecurity playing field. Just protecting office equipment or servers isn’t enough anymore.
Employee devices (or just your own) also need protecting because they’re almost certain to interface with the system sooner or later. Some companies even have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy that allows the use of personal devices to get work done. This is especially true of companies that use remote workers.
Companies, organizations and individuals that want to stay ahead of the curve should consider offering security services to anyone working for them. That means buying corporate anti-virus software and also investing in Virtual Private Network (VPN) subscriptions. These will protect individual devices; VPNs are especially important for mobiles because of the risk unsecured WiFi networks present. VPNs solve the issue by securing individual connections to remote, encrypted servers.
Besides Page Rank, Data Breaches Are Costly
Even supposing a hack doesn’t result in a loss in page rank, there are other financial costs associated with a breach. In the past year, incidents that resulted in stolen or modified data added millions of dollars’ worth of cost to businesses, with a single lost file costing over $100.
As most security incidents involve hundreds, if not thousands of files, the costs can quickly become staggering. Breaches can occur at any level, with SEO activities being no exception. That lost account with inside access may be able to procure files that could lead to legal action down the line.
Therefore, integrating security into SEO efforts is no less important than in other tasks. It scarcely makes sense to secure emails and individual terminals without also locking down text and code to ensure nothing is a risk point.
Make Security Your Priority
The interconnectivity of web pages makes security unavoidable. The very same bots and tools that help raise your SEO rank are also utilized by cybercriminals to perform SQL injections and other types of coding tricks that can lead your site to disaster.
Interestingly enough, spam comments are a source both of decreased SEO optimization and of security woes. Those not properly blocked will make your page’s content seem less relevant to the Google web crawlers while also contributing to security risks to your visitors. In a sense, the solution to one problem is also the solution to another.
Therefore, don’t go cheap on security. Keep it at the top of your company’s priorities and always ensure you’ve done what’s necessary to keep hackers and scammers out of your pockets.
With that said, tell us your plan to make it happen. We’re interested to hear how you’ll keep security and SEO interlinked.