Cybersecurity is a vital part of any online business. Whether you’re blogging or operating a digital store, the odds of experiencing a cyberattack are high. In fact, it is estimated that a hacking attempt takes place every 39 seconds.
Many online operators also don’t know that the security of your site has a huge effect on your SEO efforts. When using WordPress, the visibility of your work along with private data is at risk without the proper security steps.
Protecting your site and SEO requires an understanding of the link between WordPress site security and SEO. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to improve both your safety and your visibility.
Here’s what you should know.
The Role of Site Security in SEO
SEO can be a fragile and intricate system. Creating a thorough and effective SEO approach requires focusing on everything from quality content to the structure of your site to high-authority backlinks.
Search engines depend on these metrics when ranking a site in results pages. When a hack destabilizes one or more components of your SEO efforts, you risk losing all your carefully conducted work and your content.
A study by GoDaddy found that 73.9% of hacks occur for SEO purposes. Among hacked content management systems, an estimated 90% are on WordPress. This data reveals a troubling reality for WordPress users, who must cope with black-hat SEO efforts that don’t stop short of dismantling a site.
Hackers are fond of SEO spam attacks, which direct users to malicious sites and do aggressive damage to the search engine rankings of the victim site. Sometimes, a site can even be infected without the operator’s knowledge. As a result, a steady decline or even a Google blacklisting can occur as the search engine recognizes the malicious code grafted onto the WordPress site.
It’s important to consider security a vital aspect of your SEO approach, especially on WordPress. The protection of all your hard work depends on your cybersecurity approach.
How to Improve Security on WordPress
WordPress is a highly flexible and adaptable tool, which is one of the main reasons it has become popular as a content management system. There are many plugins you can use to maximize your SEO and streamline your security.
Effective use of tools and plugins, as well as a few cybersecurity best practices, can be enough to build a protective shell around your content that repels attacks. When it comes to WordPress, a little work can go a long way.
With this in mind, no WordPress user should neglect security and SEO. The following strategies and tips will help:
- Create strong, safe passwords and change them frequently.
- Opt into premium hosting features on WordPress, avoiding the free option and its lack of protections.
- Use protective plugins like iThemes Security or Anti-Malware Security.
- Keep all plugins and themes updated.
- Use two-factor authentication.
While no action can guarantee the safety of any website, applying common-sense digital hygiene along with the unique features of WordPress will give you better control over your SEO. These strategies will help you secure your WordPress site.
Keeping your computers safe is a key element of effective SEO, one that can be achieved with password strength, updates, and the use of multi-factor authentication to ensure that authorized users are the only ones getting into your site. Additionally, third-party hosting platforms rated for their security can be a helpful way to go.
However, no matter how thoroughly you protect your site, you should still have a contingency plan for the inevitability of a security breach.
Planning for a Security Breach
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, cyberattacks and SEO spam are on the rise. You can take every precaution possible in avoiding malware, but you never know when a hacker might breach your system anyway.
Facing this inevitably, it pays to plan for a security breach. Creating and writing a business continuity plan will help, meaning that no matter when the breach occurs you have a detailed approach laid out in front of you. This should include a risk assessment of your SEO strategy as well as steps you will need to take in restoring your SEO functionality.
When crafting your plan, consider the following items for restoring your SEO to its pre-breach status:
- Check Google Safe Browsing for your site.
- Go to Security Issues in the Google Search Console. This should inform you of the extent of the damages.
- Examine your code and remove all traces of malware.
- Request a security review from the Google Search Console.
- Wait for Google to review your site. Your SEO status could return within 24 hours if you have no traces of malware left.
WordPress security and SEO are deeply linked. An attack can cause you to lose your hard-won results and the corresponding traffic. However, an understanding of this connection and the steps you can take to prevent a security breach will set you on the path towards a more comprehensive SEO approach within WordPress.
Follow these tips and strategies to maintain a higher level of safety. While you can never be completely safe from a cyberattack, these methods are likely to redirect hackers to easier targets.