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Ben Hollom - Marketing Director, M2 Bespoke

Ben Hollom – Marketing Director, M2 Bespoke

By Ben Hollom

Having worked diligently at your SEO, you will have been rewarded with an excellent search engine ranking. You keep up the good work but, to your surprise and disappointment, your reputation takes a hit at some point. You start racking your brains as to the reason, but the answer may actually be rather simple (and unexpected) – your website security.

Many website owners are likely to make no connection between SEO and Internet security but they are definitely linked. In a blog post for Business2Community, Julia Fayre, from Canadian graphic design firm Web Media Tree, draws attention to the major problems created by assorted cyber criminals bent on exploiting good SEO practices. Website owners should be on the lookout and, if necessary, consult specialists about the most appropriate ways of dealing with the problems.

Strong content with relevant popular keywords is at the heart of good SEO. However, the most popular keywords also make your website a hugely attractive target for ill-minded individuals. One possible solution is to be more cautious in your choice, carefully analysing variations and selecting keywords with less competition.

Another problem is web forms, more specifically vulnerabilities in them. Using web form is an excellent SEO practice since it gets visitors to engage with the website, but it can also prove a security issue. Web forms can be injected with code and malware without hackers even having to breach your security. The best way to deal with this problem is to improve your database design, Fayre said.

Then there is the issue of malicious bots, which can create all sorts of problems aside from digging into your website to find vulnerabilities. Blacklisting offers the easiest solution but it is also the weakest one because it is virtually impossible to block all potentially malicious bots. Htaccess stratagems are a better alternative, but have the disadvantage of being particularly stressful bot-blocking tricks, Fayre noted.

Finally, an SEO job excellently done will make your website a magnet for spammers. In addition to being annoying, spammy comments are also a security risk as they often contain links to dodgy or downright dangerous websites. Your best bet is to go with a spam detection plug-in, but dealing with this problem will also require your constant monitoring of user comments, Fayre concluded.