Search Engine Optimization (SEO) safety is a more and more important concern as it can double online sales for consumer eCommerce retailers. However, the work you have put into optimizing a site is all for naught if a hacker compromises your site security and derails the traffic you have fought for. Read more to know how to diagnose your eCommerce site, detect a potential infection and ensure that no malware and vulnerability will impact your SEO in the future.
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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be found by the search engine. In fact, SEO can double online sales for consumer eCommerce retailers.
All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.
If you are new to SEO, I advise you to start with this quick and easy to understand video about search engine optimization. It will quickly cover the SEO basics for startups under 10 minutes:
Now then, let’s consider the work you have put into optimizing your eCommerce site is all for naught if a hacker compromises your site security and derails the traffic you have fought for. The next part will explained all SEO negative consequences of vulnerabilities on your site.
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The work you have put into optimizing a site is all for naught if a hacker compromises your site security and derails the traffic you have fought for. In terms of SEO, a common damage a hacker can do is inject code into your site in order to steal traffic or even to harm your site. Such black hat practices often result in your own site losing ranking or earning malware warnings which will certainly dissuade potential visitors from proceeding to your site. Imagine that:
- You are losing ranking from major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Imagine dropping from page 1 to page 10.
- Your prospects are seeing warning notifications in the SERP pages like « this site may be compromised » or « this site may harm your computer ».
- Your visitors are actively blocked from visiting your website, impacting directly your sales for days.
- Your site has been defaced and is welcoming your prospects and customers with an horrible web page that screams “You’ve been Hacked”.
So are you still asking why security is this important for SEO? Or why are malware warnings important for digital marketing? How many customers will open the door when signs warn that the store has been poisoning? Google will make it clear your business is untrustworthy and dangerous. And that makes this all relevant to SEO! Do not be scared, we have three amazing tips to cover your SEO from hackers.
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As we we just have seen in the previous part, failing to take the necessary precautions for your Magento, WordPress or PrestaShop security, and leveraging the experts can lead to malware infections, branding issues, Google blacklists and possibly have huge impacts to your SEO (something dear to our hearts). So what are our main tips to secure your site SEO against hackers?
1) Identify vulnerabilities and malware to secure your SEO
You have to pay a lot of attention to your website to see if it is behaving in strange ways. If you really want to analyze SEO, you have to consider redirects and hidden links. That means you have to regularly check your website for breaches of site security. If you are the owner of an eCommerce site, you are ultimately the person responsible for the integrity of that website and your customers data. You have an obligation to periodically check against intruders. You can do it now with this free vulnerability scan dedicated to eCommerce sites. This scanner is powered by OZON cybersecurity solution and let you virtually patch your discovered vulnerabilities:
2) Using HTTPS to encrypt your data and improve your SEO
Google recently announced that having an SSL Certificate is the easiest thing site owners can do to boost SEO ranking. With HTTPS becoming a more relevant search ranking factor, getting a SSL certificate and its proper implementation are a greater imperative for eCommerce site owners in 2016. Google claims that websites who use HTTPS will have a ranking benefit because of these security aspects:
- Encryption: encrypting the exchanged data to keep it secure.
- Data Integrity: data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer without being detected.
- Authentication: proves that your users communicate with the intended website.
Get a free SSL / TLS certificate with one of the OZON cybersecurity offers. For better information on HTTPS, read HTTPS security : a requirement for your online business.
3) Touch base with Webmaster Tools
Within the ever-helpful Google Webmaster Tools, site owners can verify ownership of their sites and manage who is authorized to modify their sites. Here, site owners can also monitor their sites settings to make sure no unwanted changes have been made.
For example: in the Webmaster Tools side navigation, select Configuration, then Settings to check for possible undesirable changes by the hacker such as a lower Crawl rate (perhaps with the goal to avoid search engine spiders). Also, check that nothing unusual is listed in the section Optimization > Remove URLs or Configuration > Change of Address.
Actively studying your site for strange behavior and vulnerabilities, switching from HTTP to HTTPS, using a cybersecurity solution and taking advantage of Google Webmaster Tools are the key strategies to ensure your eCommerce site is secure and your SEO is safe!