How To Defend Your Site From SEO Attacks
Did your website’s Google ranking drop down dramatically?
There may be different reasons for the sudden drop in SEO rankings, but there is a high probability that your SEO has been attacked.
Are you aware that 51% of all cyber-attacks were linked to SEO Spam attacks in 2018? The figures keep increasing daily.
But What Does An SEO Attack Look Like?
If your site’s SEO has been attacked, it will be flooded with many files having inappropriate keywords and malicious backlinks. As a result, your site will be blacklisted by search engines, and users will be unable to access your site and content. An SEO attack can tarnish the good reputation of your business as well as the domain authority of your site.
So how do you defend your site from SEO attacks? Here are some useful tips you can start applying right away.
- Keep your software and plugins updated
A 2019 study conducted by BulletProof found that 22% of the high and critical-risk concerns reported were of outdated software.
At all times, keep your software and plugins updated on your website so that you don’t invite cybercriminals to exploit it.
Conduct routine checks for software updates and to complete security patches.
Don’t hesitate to remove applications that you don’t require. The risk of your site getting compromised increases the more you keep relying on third-party applications.
You can also provide better user experience by upgrading your software and plugins and removing outdated features.
- Implement an SSL certificate
SSL certificate does not only encrypt data and offer security, but it is linked to higher rankings in search engines.
For instance, when you get an SSL certificate from a reputed CA like and install it, you can protect several websites with only one certificate. When you think of an SSL certificate you can consider a Comodo SSL certificate that is recognized by browsers, and people trust it too. It is said that Comodo accounts for 34% of the whole SSL market. Thus, you can gain more traffic and increase your SEO rankings. It is said that on Chrome, visitors spend 90.2% of the browsing time on HTTPS pages.
And ever since Google announced that SSL cert would be considered as a ranking factor, most web owners are switching to HTTPS. As per BuiltWith, there are 85,167,054 SSL certificates on the internet.
- Apply a CAPTCHA
CAPTCHA, (Completely Automated Public Turing test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a security measure that tells apart human site visitors from crawlers and bots.
You apply a CAPTCHA to your site’s login, e-commerce checkouts, or account sign-up forms to deter cybercriminals from setting up bots to SEO spam your website and ward off bad traffic.
In a 6 months case study done by Moz over 50 different websites, it was found that there was an 88% reduction in SPAM while the CAPTCHA on the websites was left on.
- Track your backlink profiles
Cybercriminals are notorious for building low-quality links and redirects to conduct negative SEO attacks. Ensure to keep track of those links on your website.
There are SEO monitoring tools that can help you track backlinks and keywords.
With these tools, you can detect whenever malicious redirects are being sent to your site.
- Install a web application firewall (WAF)
You can prevent bad bots from making spammy comments on your website by installing a Web Application Firewall.
There are many types of WAF options to choose from. Ensure that you choose one that comes with a built-in CAPTCHA to supply an extra layer of security.
The Web Application Firewall will serve as a doorkeeper for your site and block security threats before they get to your site and compromise it.
- Check for duplicate content
Optimized content is among the top-ranking factors for Google.
Thus, it is crucial for your site to have unique, relevant, and extensive content.
Cybercriminals take advantage of this and try to scrape content from your websites and copy it onto other junk domains.
When the Google search engine indexes your content on junk domains prior to indexing your website, your website will lose the SEO value.
You can use tools to check plagiarism and ensure your content is unique. In case your content has been copied, email the owner of the site, asking him/her to at once remove the copied content. Or use Google’s Copyright Removal form to claim your content rights.
- Check site performance
Monitor your site’s performance regularly. It should not take too much time to load, or it should not often crash or get stuck.
It is said that websites that take five seconds to load are likely to witness average sessions that are 70% longer – as compared to sites that take 19 seconds to load.
If your site’s performance is very poor, chances are, your site’s server has been attacked.
Forceful crawling and DDoS attacks are common, leading to an increase in bounce rates. If you are unable to address these issues, reach out to your hosting provider.
- Don’t ignore online reviews
Customers consume both positive and negative reviews, and they are influenced by the reviews.
It is said that 91% of young consumers trust online reviews.
If you have too many negative reviews on your site, it will drive customers away. In case you are suddenly noticing a string of bad reviews about your site on sites like Google My Business or Yelp, it may be the work of your malicious competitor.
Many review sites allow you to flag fraudulent reviews. Use it for your benefit.
There is no sole strategy that can completely block SEO attackers from your site. You will have to follow several steps and take measures to ensure that your site’s SEO is safe, and you rank higher in search engines.
Make sure to install an SSL certificate as it has become mandatory today. You can rely on the SSL certificate as it comes from a trusted certificate authority. It will not only safeguard your site from data theft and SEO attacks but will boost your SEO.