It’s certainly no secret that the overall security of your website can impact your search engine rankings. After all, search engine bots crawl through your site for all kinds of elements, and they aren’t just looking at your content – even something as seemingly small as a broken SSL certification and a lack of HTTPS can have huge implications for your SEO.

You read that right – website security affecting your SEO is more than just a marketing claim!

Now’s the time to make sure that your site is protected and that it isn’t a haven for malicious hackers to hide in wait for their next victim. In this spirit, we’re taking a look at the most recent SEO and security news to help you shore up your defenses and better ensure security and privacy for your website visitors.

Why Is Your Website a Target? The SEO Value of a Website

To kick things off, we have this piece from Security Boulevard contributor Douglas Santos, who provides an incredibly comprehensive overview of the elements that can make a website a high-value target for hackers. Once you get past a bit of security jargon, Santos offers up particularly important insights, including:

  • Why hackers go after certain sites and the tactics they use to hurt their pagerank and promote competitors.
  • What happens when Google identifies spam content on a site, with consequences ranging from impacts to page rankings, to being completely blacklisted.
  • How to pinpoint spam infections, including symptoms like numerous 404 error pages, unauthorized content live on the site or other suspicious page modifications.
  • How to avoid an infection through strategies like keeping the CMS up to date and using strong authentication credentials.

Check out the full article here to read more.

How Ransomware Targets WordPress Sites

Ransomware has been a pervasive security issue for years now, but most infections and protection strategies have centered around email attacks. It usually goes something like this:

A hacker sends a targeted email with a malicious link or attachment, which, once opened by the unsuspecting email recipient, launches the ransomware.

This type of malware is trickier than most, and actually has the ability to lock users out of all the files, data and apps contained on their device through strong encryption. The next step in the infection is something akin to a digital stick up – users aren’t granted access back to their locked data until they pay hackers (usually in untraceable Bitcoin) for the decryption key.

Ransomware locks everything up until victims pay up.

Marketing Land contributor Sam Bocetta recently made the important point that while ransomware attacks have decreased slightly recently, websites are still very much at risk. In particular, thanks to the platform’s popularity, hackers have targeted WordPress sites for these attacks recently. So if your business is one of the 75 million that use WP, listen up:

  • EV ransomware attacks are on the rise, which infects sites through a direct upload and subsequently locks administrators out of the site.
  • You can still protect your site through strategies like only downloading plugins from official platforms, performing regular updates and content backups and using secure email platforms.

Check out Bocetta’s other security tips here.

Voice Choice Impacts Customer Brand Trust

Content marketers like ourselves are always on the lookout for the next big thing in digital content, and with the rise in digital voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, many brands have been seeking ways to punch up their audio content strategy. However, in this pursuit, it’s important for marketers to understand consumers’ feelings around voice-enabled technology.

In this article from, contributor Keaton Robbins makes the important point that distrust in digital voice assistants and other vocal-command-enabled devices is more widespread than many brands assume. In fact, according to Forrester Vice President Dipanjan Chatterjee, 37% of consumers don’t trust any brand to provide them with smart devices and services. And this includes certain tech giants that have cornered this market in the last few years.

Well, that’s unsettling.

What’s more, instances like Alexa or Siri giving odd – or, even creepier, unsolicited – responses to users have only created more cause for concern. However, as Robbins noted, consumers are beginning to strike a balance here, where their fears about constant voice recording and misuse of personal data are being set aside in the name of convenience.

“In this environment, the question isn’t whether or not a brand should participate in our voice activated and integrated world: It’s how brands today need to develop their literal brand voice, as well as develop an audio content strategy,” Robbins wrote. “How they do this, and the voice(s) they choose will be integral to building trust.”

Being transparent about voice-enabled technology, as well as the ways in which the resulting data is collected and used, can help brands quell consumer concerns about the so-called “rise of the machines.” And once companies earn this consumer trust, 95% of those customers will remain loyal, according to Salesforce.

Read the full story here.

Check back for next week’s roundup, but in the meantime, be nice to Alexa.

AndSiri and Cortana, for that matter 🙂

Jessica Wells is a senior writer and editor at Brafton, working remotely from Hawaii. When she's not writing, Jessica enjoys paddle boarding, snorkeling and enjoying the view (and a cocktail) from her beach chair.