How to secure your Website
In my previous blog, I discussed the reasons why web security is a priority for SEO, as well as the most common malicious threats that are used against e-commerce websites.
With web security playing an extremely vital role in SEO, I will be covering 3 of the most important ways to protect a website from any threat, and guarantee a safe browsing experience for all users.
Install an SSL protocol:
The first and most important action to take is to install an SSL protocol. SSL stands for secure sockets layer and is a cryptographic internet security protocol that establishes a safe link between a server and a web browser. It is widely used across different networks and applications and has become the primary source of protection against threats. This is because it allows sensitive information to be securely exchanged between server and browsers.
By using encryption algorithms, this technology makes it impossible for hackers to read and make sense of any intercepted data. This could include bank account details, credit card credentials, or any other sensitive information provided by the user.
The most valuable reason for website owners to install an SSL certificate is because it guarantees the website an HTTPS certificate which allows it to be recognised by Google has a secure website.
Keep your website updated:
Software updates are crucial for any website since they are meant to keep operating systems running smoothly and usually contain security patches. The security patches are meant to address previously identified vulnerabilities in the software and subsequently fix them efficiently. In failing to do so, you are at risk of your website to being hacked via malware or injection.
This is in fact, one of the most common methods that hackers use to gain unauthorised access of websites as they are constantly looking for breaches and loopholes.
Software updates may involve updating specific features of your CMS, such as plugins and themes, or updating the entire system if requested. Additionally, it is important to keep your site’s certificate up to date and be aware of any patch from your hosting service.
Secure your admin folders:
Hackers gaining unauthorised access to your website is a likelihood if the proper security measures are not carried out. When this occurs, you’ll want to ensure that they don’t have access to the core of your website, your admin folders and files.
To ensure access is not granted in this circumstance, it’s considered best practice that you assign security permissions to restrict access to any of these folders and files. Be sure to use strong and unique passwords that are not replicated anywhere, and protect your keys outside of the site’s directory.
Ultimately, it is ideal that you keep regular backups of your site for the worst case scenario where all you’re files have been compromised and you need to restore your site from previous backups instead of starting from scratch.
Why is it important for SEO?
As an SEO agency, we keep a close track of all major updates in algorithms and ranking factors. Over the years Google has been extremely proactive in trying to provide the best browsing experience for users and safe browsing is a big part of it.
With this in mind, Google started using HTTPS certificate as a ranking factor in 2014. Further on, in 2017 they introduced a new feature called “secure” navigation that displayed a green tag with a closed lock icon every time a user accessed an HTTPS URL, this was meant to promote that page safety protocol and let users know that the page they were visiting was secure and encrypted. July 2018, saw Google took a further step and started flagging for non-HTTPS pages by displaying a similar label before the URL, instead reading “Not secure”. Secure pages are now displaying a closed grey lock to guarantee the connection is secure.
Fast forwarding to recent times, this year has seen Google announce a new update that will expand user experience as a key ranking factor. This will be achieved by combining the Core Web Vital with safe browsing and HTTPS security to measure user experience and ultimately determine search rankings.
Polaris is an award-winning SEO agency in London specialising B2B, PPC, e-commerce and the healthcare industry.