SEO

SEO and Security: Why It Matters

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TheAdTraffic has helped me keep on top of the SEO rat race ever since its inception, and I still come back every once in a while to check if there is anything new. After this, you should read their article about Google Panda and what it means for you.

Whether you are trying to build your website(s) or simply hoping to get more information to send to your superiors, your SEO data is extremely valuable as is the time you took to collect it. It is not an easy job, which is why other people are more than willing to steal that data from you. You might not immediately think of it, but security is a vital part of any online enterprise, considering the millions of attacks that occur each day.

The best thing you can do right now is motivate yourself to be a more security conscious individual and take steps to educate yourself why this matters so much. After that, you should get the tools and learn the habits necessary to get yourself ready to face whatever cybercriminals want to throw at you.

Here are a few reasons why you need to take greater care of your security when it comes to SEO matters:

Research is Valuable

Hackers don’t usually go after personal or business information because they feel some natural calling to it. They go after whatever they can make money selling, and SEO data has a small but willing market. That includes your SEO data and whatever else it can get from your website. Perhaps an attacker wants the records of your newsletter subscribers but finds vital SEO data instead. They’ll probably take everything not nailed down (and nothing is nailed down) if given the chance.

The value of the data may vary depending on what you have and what a cybercriminal can sell it for, but you can rest assured that it’s enough to keep some people interested. You must prepare a response proportional to that value unless you keep everything on an offline flash drive (hardly an efficient solution).

An Attack Can Set You Back Months

You might wonder what the worst thing that could happen if you find yourself on the losing end of a cyberattack. The worst things that could happen are the complete loss of your website and the corruption of all of your SEO data. Hackers are known to take over websites and computers to use in botnet attacks against others, and your website could eventually just become another cog in that machine. In the meantime, they’ll gut your site for anything useful, perhaps deleting pages at a whim. How do you think that’ll affect your website’s SEO rankings in the long run?

If you’re worried about the reader and subscriber response, then you need to also consider that people don’t like knowing that a website they regularly visit has been compromised. They generally don’t like it so much that they don’t ever come back to the website, even if you write them a very nice and apologetic email. This can send your readership count back months, or you might be forced to consider to option of starting from the very beginning. Preventing that is worth an investment in security.

Human Error Is Your Real Enemy

You might already have a few programs or plugins to protect your SEO research and online assets, but you need to know that you are in fact the biggest threat to your own website. Would you leave the house without locking the door? Probably not, and too many people do the online equivalent by placing minimal (read: a field day for hackers) restrictions on their online assets and using “Password1” as their password to any online accounts. Alternatively a manager might give an employee too much access or someone gets caught up in a scam and sends out copies of data collected over three months in three emails. The possibilities for human failure are endless.

You need to train yourself as to not only the tools of cybersecurity but the psychology of cybersecurity as well. Tools are nearly as importance as intelligence and habits, just as you’ve learned that even the best content needs a good strategy behind it. Similarly train anyone you work with regularly or employees on what they need to know to keep safe.

A Few Immediate Tips

To get you started, here are a few things that you should address immediately:

  • Make sure that you do have the best tools to protect your computer and your website if applicable. WordPress plugins can be helpful if you pick the right ones, and an internet security suite is a must for any computer.
  • You should be utilizing the services of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) wherever you go. They will connect your device (both computer and smartphones) to an offsite secure server using an encrypted connection that will keep hackers out when using public networks where they could otherwise intercept your vital data. You can also use a VPN to mask your IP address while you research so you can stay anonymous and perform tests. Others like to use it to bypass regional restrictions and unblock Netflix.
  • Do a manual check of all of your data and digital assets. Take a mental note of where all of your files are. Take a look for anything that shouldn’t be there or evidence of tampering. You should make this type of check routine every few weeks just in case something slips past your defenses.
  • Don’t put your vital data anywhere where you don’t have complete control of it. At least try to follow this to the best of your ability. The cloud isn’t a reliable place to store data securely, and you don’t need more than a handful of copies (yet having a backup is vital).

Your research data is invaluable, and no matter how you store it you should give it the protection it deserves. Take some of the above recommendations into consideration and ruminate over what exactly would happen if you fell victim to a cyber attack. Do you have a backup plan? What kind of setback would you be looking at? Taking action is easier than it sounds.

Do you have any thoughts on cyber security and SEO? Do you have any personal experiences of your own or opinions you’d like to share? We’d love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment below.

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