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Study Finds Clear Link Between Hackers and SEO

hackers and SEO

Search engine optimization is one of the keys to your online marketing strategy. It's critical in today's competitive market, as necessary now as it used to be for businesses to have prime real estate. Google is your real estate. Although it's easier to change than your physical location, it takes time, effort and a dedicated SEO strategy that focuses on the end user.

This fact is not lost on hackers, it seems, as a new study has found a clear correlation between site hacks and SEO. But how many site hacks target SEO? And if your site's SEO is ultimately damaged by a hacker, do you know how to recover?

The Study

The study was carried out by domain name giant GoDaddy. They determined that a stunning 73.9 percent of hacking cases are simply for the purpose of hijacking SEO. How do they do it? They use a lot of different tactics, including:

  • Adding new links on an existing site to create back links to unintended third-party sites.
  • Showing Google a completely different site so that it no longer recognizes yours.
  • Adding additional pages to your site to enhance the SEO of another page.

Everyone knows how valuable real estate is. Unfortunately, that can make it fragile. That's why it is so important to consider both security and SEO at the same time. They work hand-in-hand. If you are focused on security and keeping hackers at bay, it is time to reconsider your SEO tactics and the role they may play.

Losing Your Ranking

Another potential problem here is that your site could lose the rank you have worked so hard for over the years. You could even find your site blacklisted. Your ranking could plummet. You lose that prime real estate. What will that mean for your business?

After all, per the GoDaddy study, spam SEO after a hack pushes customers away from your site. They're not here to dig into the specifics of what happened. They just go elsewhere. Traffic falters and your rank dips as no one chooses your link. Dwell times plummet.

Potential customers may also get redirected. They could wind up on malicious sites. They're now in jeopardy themselves. This is not something they'll likely forget in short order. Even if you fix the damage from the hack, you may lose those people.

So, the first step is to work hard to prevent against an attack while building up your own content strategy to increase your ranking. But what happens if you suffer an attack, anyway?

Reviving Your Site

The key is to be proactive. You can win that real estate back. This is when SEO strategies become absolutely critical. You have to work on your ranking in an aggressive manner to make up lost ground.

It's about more than just doing repairs after the attack or working to prevent the next one. It is about regaining the rank you had, adding quality content and re-earning the trust of your visitors. Remember, the damage is not irreparable. You just need to know how to fix it.

It is also important to rely on your own strategies. Do not wait for Google to act on your behalf. The study analyzed 65,000 different websites that had suffered hacks. A mere 6,500 actually got banned. While you don't want to get banned, of course, it also notifies you that something is wrong. This data means that about 90 percent of the infected sites did not get these automatic warnings.

That's part of the reason that SEO needs to be an ongoing process. You have to constantly focus on monitoring your strategy and working to improve. And that basic principle goes beyond malicious attacks; noting them early is just one benefit. Having fresh SEO tactics that engage with changes in the industry and that keep you on the cutting edge should always be a priority.

Online real estate is valuable. Don't lose it. Work every day to improve it, and watch your business flourish as a result.

Jonathan Schlosser

Posted on 4th October, 2018 by Jonathan Schlosser

About Jonathan Schlosser

Jon Schlosser is a professional writer and SEO specialist living in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

View all posts by Jonathan Schlosser