Websites are an essential component of your success. No business can excel without possessing a website in today’s age. SEO is vital to ensure your sites have maximum visibility from as many customers as possible. It is found that small businesses spend an average of $497 each month on SEO services to improve their keyword selection, search rankings, and several backlinks. But, an increased focus on SEO among all small businesses has led to cyber-attacks that could harm your search rankings. SEO Spam attacks have been responsible for over half of all cyber-attacks in 2018. The number was more than 7.3% from the previous year as well.
These attacks degrade the website’s ranking by other overloading sites having countless files containing malicious backlinks and keywords. Search rankings can break a small business, and thus it is essential to understand how to strengthen SEO security and avoid all these attacks. One quick and best way to remain secure is to make your website GDPR compliant, and you can do this by adopting GDPR web hosting services.
This post discusses different types of SEO attacks and ways to prevent them. To further aid our readers in this regard, we’ve compiled this article for our readers. Let’s read on.
How to Ensure Your Website Security
SEO attacks damage your website ranking and your credibility with customers and visitors. Moreover, they expose other website pages to security breaches and can cause search engines to flag your site. To prevent cyber crooks from harming your rankings and reputation, follow the mentioned tips to boost your website security.
Conduct Regular Link Audits
Link audits are excellent practice for any business; however, they can save you for sure if you’ve been a victim of SEO attacks. Monitor your links profile growth to detect any suspicious activity before it becomes out of control.
Update Your Security
SEO attacks might not always make headlines, but cybercriminals and attacks do. Ensure that your software has the latest version and is updated as well. Apply all the security patches to your software, and your CMS software is secured with robust encryption protocols to protect the users.
Try to shift your site to HTTPS, especially when running an E-commerce site or keeping private customer data. The HTTPS encryption provides greater security and works as a ranking signal that might improve your overall SEO. Cyber attacks are not negative SEO, but they impact your SEO. Google feels no hesitation in flagging any compromised sites that takes the traffic away.
Use a CAPTCHA
A CAPTCHA is a variety of images with a particular theme you must enter or select to access your account or make payments on other websites. It is a test that the computer uses to separate human website visitors from crawlers and bots. When applied to your account signup form, e-commerce checkouts, and login page, you can prevent cybercriminals from spreading bots to fill your website with SEO spam.
Monitor your Site’s Speed
Website speed is an essential ranking perimeter. If your website is sluggish and you can’t understand why you should use crawling software to look for suspicious activity. If you don’t find anything and there is a problem, you must be a victim of forceful crawling. It results in a massive server load, indicating that your site is slow and might even crash. If you think you’re a victim of a crawling attack, you must contact your hosting company or webmaster to determine where the load is coming from.
Check for Duplicate Content
Content quality is essential for good SEO. Websites with relevant, unique, and substantial content rank better than those without. On the other side, Google crawls through different websites with duplicate content. Another harmful SEO method is to scrape website content and copy it onto scores of junk domains. It can be highly damaging for the new content. If Google indexed the content on the junk domains before indexing the original site, the site lost the SEO value.
To avoid this, use tools like Copyscape or Grammarly Premium to ensure your content exists only on your website. If you found your content on another site, you must email the site owner and request to remove the content immediately. You can also complete Google’s Copyright Removal Form and claim your content property.
Use Google Analytics to Monitor Traffic Spikes
Traffic spikes might be the most noticeable red flags—one harmful SEO method to spam content and blogs with low-quality links to a website. Online sales, social media campaigns, and several other welcoming things cause spikes in website traffic. However, a massive surge of visitors is a classic warning sign of negative SEO. The results can be detrimental because Google will crawl all these links and penalize the targeted site for its spammy link profile.
However, the good news is that Google Analytics makes tracking visitors to your website easy. Pay attention to how much traffic you get from referrals, paid advertising, email, SEO, and other channels you’re using. If you observe any unusual traffic, run a referral report and see where your visitors are coming from to determine if you’re a victim of spam or not.
How SEO Attacks Work
When a hacker breaks into a website, there is a list of malicious ways to harm your site. An SEO Spam attack is one of those and can be used with other types of hacks. The following are five conventional methods that usually occur when a website faces SEO spamming hacks.
Spam Keyword Insertion
Spammers want to rank their products and services. They often use black-hat SEO techniques and insert keywords all over their website. When a search is done for these keywords, your website ranks automatically. This is not visible either to you or your user.
Spam Link Injection
Hackers insert an external malicious link that redirects users to a website of their choice. They use clickjacking to add hidden links under regular lockable content, deactivating the user. When clicked, visitors are directed to another website, usually promoting illegal content and products.
Displaying Ads and Banners
Spammers can also hijack any banners, pop-ups, CTA, and ads. They replace it with a promotion for their products and content on your site.
Creating New Pages
Hackers can also create new pages and take over your site. The primary purpose of this activity is to manipulate search engines.
Hackers with access to your customer database can start sending emails to promote their products. The email will be sent from your legal address, which fools the customer. Upon opening it, they will be exposed to the hackers’ tricks. When users flag these emails as spam, the mail server will mark them spam.
Making your business’s search ranking better requires much time and hard work. Enhance your SEO security by understanding how and why these attacks take place. Follow the abovementioned points to avoid these attacks and keep your business thriving and free from bots and spam.
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About the Author
Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.More from Rebecca James
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