Google pays close attention to any factors that could affect its users' experience while using its search engine services. For example, the search engine giant will provide business ratings and reviews right on its search results, so the users can take a well-informed decision before even opening the website. When you are working with the right SEO experts, they will always work on every factor that could affect your website's SEO, not just keywords and backlinks. How secure or insecure your website is can have a great impact on your website's rankings.
What Google Does to Websites with Security Compromises
According to Google's own estimates, more than 12 million searches yield websites are hacked on a daily basis. These websites can be extremely dangerous for users as they can contain malicious software on them. Google flags any such websites and when the right time comes, it punishes them. Keep in mind that all these websites are not intentionally bad. You might have malware on your website without even knowing about it. This happens when you have plugins and applications on your website that have not been updated to their latest versions. Or maybe your website has plugins from unreliable and unknown third-parties.
Once your website has been flagged by Google, you will soon see some severe punishments coming your way. According to a survey, 77% of the websites that Google had flagged for security concerns experienced great impacts on their website traffics i.e. their traffic dropped significantly. However, there are instances where the websites have security breaches but Google does not know about them yet.
How Your SEO Gets Affected
Your website's SEO gets affected in many ways if you have any security breaches. First, Google takes whatever steps it can for its users to prevent them from going to your website. If Google has found out that your website has security breaches, it will put a warning statement on your website's search result. The statement might say that your website can harm a user's computer if they open it. If you look closely, this is a very serious warning. How can a user feel comfortable clicking on a link that says it can harm their computer? This statement automatically results in a significant drop in your website traffic.
As mentioned above, Google now puts reviews and ratings (in the shape of stars) right beside your website's search result to help its users take the right decision. Now, when users find out that your website has malware on it, they will inform other users about this. The news will spread and you will constantly get low ratings and bad reviews from the customers. These bad ratings and negative reviews will appear with your website's result every time someone searches for your business. So, if someone was about to click on your website because they did not notice the warning, they will definitely hold back from clicking on the link when they see such reviews and ratings.
You SEO rankings go down even more when you fail to adequately maintain your website. Of course, you can't let things be once you have found out that your website has compromised software or a bad plugin on it. You will have to find a replacement of that software. If your data has already been corrupted, you will have to look for solutions to purge it from malware. This will add to your expenses and your focus will move from SEO efforts to cleaning your website. Your website might become unavailable shortly for maintenance reasons, but that duration is just enough for users to forget about you.
Before Google even punishes your website for any security breach, it is your responsibility towards your visitors to welcome them to a safe place. Even if Google does not notice any security related issues on your website and labels you, the users will stop coming to your website on their own once they find out there's stuff wrong with it. Keep your software, plugins and add-ons updated, use safer and stronger passwords, have updated SSL certificates installed and work with only the most experienced and reliable SEO companies to ward off any drops in your rankings.