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SEO and Cyber Security - Do They Affect Each Other?

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 4 min read
SEO and Cyber Security - Do They Affect Each Other?


One of the ways to attract customers online is to rank high on the search results page. Ranking high on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) can increase your visibility, drive customers to your website organically, and lead to business growth. But for that, you will need a good SEO strategy that can help you reach the top.

But, no matter how good of an SEO strategy you have in place, you will not be able to ace the SERP game if you don’t focus on website security. That’s right. In addition to SEO strategies like link building and others, Google also takes website safety into account.

It was way back in 2014 that Google made its opinion clear about website security. Website security is something they expect from every website. Hence, they stated that HTTPS would be used as a ranking signal on Google SERP.

Any damage and disruption to your website caused by a cyberattack can negatively impact you. It can cause you to slip down the abyss to the second, third, fourth search results page or even beyond. The consequences go beyond this.

So, how does cybersecurity affect your SEO rankings and vice versa? Let’s find out in detail.

Hacked Site Warnings

You might have probably seen a warning like this before on a Google SERP that goes, “This site may be hacked.” The example is shown below.

Website Hacked - Google SERP

As a website owner, this is not good news. This means that Google has identified that your website has become a target of a cyberattack. This will negatively impact your traffic. Naturally, users will refrain from visiting a website that has been hacked, as visiting such sites puts them at risk too.

Moreover, as users will not be clicking on your website link, Google will keep lowering your rank on their SERP. It will feel that your website is not a useful result for the visitors. Thus, no matter how relevant your website is to the users, it will not attract them.

To get rid of the problem, you can have the warning sign removed from your site. You need to contact Google via Search Console. You will have to put in a request to review your site. But, you will have to do something about your hacked website first.

For that, you can implement a strong, robust operational technology cybersecurity tool. OT security tools will not only help protect your website, but they will also help in other areas of cyber security as well. OT cybersecurity tools will help protect operational technology infrastructure, people, and data as well.

We recommend you integrate the OT security solution. Industrial Defender helps monitor, manage, and protect systems effectively. Cybersecurity teams can better protect assets from cyber threats like ransomware, spyware, DDoS attacks, and others. The security solution helps quickly detect anomalies in the network and endpoints that helps take a proactive cyber security approach.

With Industrial Defender OT security solution, you will have a 360-degree cyber security layer to safeguard against a myriad of threats to your business. But, make sure you get OT security companies properly before employing their services.

Hacker Bots Copying Your Content

Search engines like Google have a range of parameters to index website data. This indexing is carried out by the indexing bots. But, sometimes, the crawling activity is carried out by malicious bots too.

These malicious bots scrape your website for data and then steal it. The stolen data is then copied and published elsewhere on a different website. If the trusted Google indexing bots find the duplicate website first, it will negatively impact your SEO rankings. The bots will award a higher ranking to the other website. They will feel that you copied the content from the other site. Your rankings will drop naturally due to plagiarism issues.

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from such attacks is to ensure that your website is indexed regularly. You can check whether your website has been indexed by Google or not by following this guide. You can also ask Google to recrawl your website if you have made any recent changes.

Additionally, you can also protect your exposed APIs, mobile apps and monitor traffic sources to prevent hacker bots from crawling your website.

Bad Website Reviews

User reviews are becoming an important Google ranking factor. Positive, high-ranking reviews help with local SEO ranking. The better reviews you have on your website, the higher it will rank on SERP.

However, malicious parties, like your competitors, can put up fake, malicious reviews on your website. This is done with the intent of lowering your SEO rankings. While such a form of attack isn’t as complex as other forms of cyberattacks, it definitely does impact your SEO.

To protect your business from such malicious reviews, you can take a number of steps. These include:

  • Identify malicious reviews by analyzing the comments. Look for similarities in words, tone, or check if something looks odd.
  • If you spot a fake review, report it to the Google Small Business support team.
  • Make sure you file a detailed report. This includes reasons like why you feel the review is fake and which Google policy it violates.
  • Attach any evidence to back your claim, if you can.

Google will remove fake reviews from your website after going through your report. This will help improve your SEO rankings as your overall customer reviews will be on the higher side.

However, if you feel the reviews are genuine, you can take the following steps:

  • Monitor what your legitimate customers are saying about your business.
  • Respond to their comments professionally and promptly.
  • Try to improve on your shortcomings to avoid similar reviews in the future.
  • Ask the reviewer to change their reviews if they are satisfied with your actions.

Moreover, you can also encourage customers who had a happy, joyful experience to leave a positive review for you.

To improve your review responsiveness, you can set up Google alerts to get notified of new customer reviews periodically.

Parting Thoughts

We can see that SEO and cyber security are interdependent. Moreover, SEO is directly proportional to your cybersecurity. The better you protect your business online, the higher your SEO will be and vice versa.

Thus, you need to consider cyber security too in your SEO and digital marketing strategies. Implement robust cyber security measures to safeguard your website from cyberattacks. Otherwise, no matter how good your SEO is, it won’t be of any use if your website security is not up to the mark.

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