Best WordPress Security for Better SEO Rankings

In this article, you’ll discover tips and strategies to recognize and resolve typical WordPress security problems. This will help safeguard your website and maintain your search rankings by preventing cyberattacks.

In September 2023 alone, over 17,000 WordPress websites fell victim to the Balada Injector malware.

The outcomes were severe for the businesses owning those websites.

Apart from facing significant fines and penalties, businesses whose websites were compromised by cyberattacks must put in extra effort to regain the trust of their current customers and search engines.

Unfortunately, not all businesses manage to do so.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Urgency of WordPress Security: In September 2023, over 17,000 WordPress sites fell victim to malware attacks, emphasizing the critical importance of security measures to safeguard businesses and their online image from cyber threats.
  2. Impact on SEO and Business Operations: Security breaches not only lead to financial losses and penalties but also severely harm a website’s SEO rankings and the business’s standing with customers and search engines, making recovery a tough task.
  3. Proactive Steps for Protection: The article provides a comprehensive guide to using WordPress security for SEO advantages, including actions like choosing the right SSL certificate, keeping plugins up to date, establishing a cybersecurity policy, investing in security plugins, and remaining vigilant to prevent attacks and enhance website and domain credibility.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Consumer Buying Habits

Covid-19 drastically altered consumer purchasing patterns. While individuals are gradually reverting to their pre-pandemic shopping habits, the behaviors adopted during the pandemic persist.

Consumers continue to initiate their purchasing journey online, with over half of them favoring search engines for product and service research before making a purchase.

Best Wordpress Security : Adnivate
Survey Responses To The Question, “In General, Where Do You Typically Research The Items/Products You Intend To Buy?” Source: Pwc’s June 2023 Global Consumer Insights Survey

And while in-store shopping is making a comeback, online shopping isn’t slowing down. eMarketer projects that the number of online shoppers will increase to 230.6 million by 2026 in the US alone.

Best Wordpress Security : Adnivate
Source: Emarketer

Rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and internet technology have raised consumer expectations for top-quality products and services and a pleasant, secure, and effortless shopping experience.

This expectation extends beyond e-commerce and B2B websites. Consumers anticipate such experiences on any website they visit, including search engines.

As a result, merely publishing informative articles and adhering to SEO best practices is insufficient to achieve high rankings on Google and other search engines. It’s equally crucial to ensure that your website offers your target audience a user experience that meets or surpasses their expectations.

How Security Breaches Derail Your SEO Efforts

Cyberattacks can have such severe consequences that some businesses never fully recover.

In addition to coping with the substantial costs linked to a security breach, victims of cyberattacks face a damaged reputation with their customers and search engines.

Google and other search engines prioritize website security, akin to any SaaS business, as they are accountable for safeguarding users’ data whenever their services are utilized.

This is why they prioritize website security as one of the key factors when assessing a website’s overall page experience.

Best Wordpress Security : Adnivate
Google’s Page Experience Documentation Includes A Question Focusing On Website Security.

And they’re not the only ones. Browsers and websites where you’ve established backlinks will also hinder users from directing traffic to your website.

Until Google and other search engines remove your site’s URL from their blocklists, browsers will continue to display a notification each time someone attempts to visit your website.

Best Wordpress Security : Adnivate
Best Wordpress Security - Adnivate Digital Marketing Agency

On the other hand, tools like Ahrefs and Semrush will classify backlinks to your website as “toxic” or “malicious”, causing other websites to remove your backlinks from their sites and disavow any links pointing to theirs.

That’s why one of the first signs that your website’s security has been breached is that your website’s no longer getting any traffic.

And even after you manage to get your website out from Google’s blocklist, new and existing customers will bring their business elsewhere and spread the word about the security breach to those in their networks and on online review sites, further bringing your website and SEO efforts downward a vicious spiral.

Leveraging WordPress Security for SEO Advantage: Step-by-Step Guide

Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to protect your website and your customers from cybercriminals lurking around the internet, looking for their next victim.

Step 1: Implement the right SSL certificate for your business

SSL certificates encrypt all the data sent and received on your website, protecting your business and customers’ data and personal information from data breaches.

Most web hosting providers like SiteGround now include SSL certificates as part of their WordPress website hosting services. Still, checking that the SSL/TLS certificate type provides the security level expected for your business and online activities is essential.

For instance, if you own a restaurant, an organization-validated (OV) SSL certificate will be your best option since this SSL certificate type verifies that your website is tied to a legitimate business establishment.

Step 2: Keep all your WordPress plugins updated

Reputable WordPress plugin developers would regularly update their plugins to address any vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could potentially exploit. So, make sure to update any plugins once you receive a notification.

Back up your website before updating your WordPress plugins, especially if you’re updating your site builder or security plugins. If the updated plugin causes your website to break or compatibility issues with your other plugins, you can always revert to the previous version.

If you have any installed plugins that their developers haven’t updated for quite some time, deactivate and delete these from your website, as they may contain vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can use as a backdoor to get into your website.

Step 3: Establish a cybersecurity policy for your organization

With businesses adapting remote and hybrid work models, establishing and maintaining a cybersecurity policy within your company has become more critical than ever.

A cybersecurity policy documents guidelines and best practices everyone within your organization must observe to protect your website and WordPress forms from potential security breaches from using less secure internet connections and devices.

Ideally, you’d want to include your cybersecurity policy within your employee contract, handbook, and onboarding process.

Doing this ensures that you properly communicate these policies and the consequences for violating them.

Step 4: Invest in security plugins

Security plugins like Sucuri or Wordfence help block hackers from infiltrating your website by implementing features like firewall protection and limited login attempts.

They also constantly scan your website to find and fix any malware that may have broken through its first line of defense.

If they find any WordPress security issues on your website, these security plugins will notify you so you can take immediate action.

Best Wordpress Security : Adnivate
Screenshot Of An Email Alert Notification Sent Out By Wordfence Security To Its Users

Step 5: Stay vigilant and proactive at all times

Even though you’ve followed the previous steps, keeping a close eye on your website for any WordPress security issues is still essential.

The leaps and strides we’ve witnessed in artificial intelligence and machine learning have, unfortunately, helped cybercriminals refine their hacking techniques.

One of the most common hacking methods is email phishing. This cyber attack tricks people into divulging sensitive information like passwords and credit card details by sending legitimate-looking emails.

Thanks to AI writing tools like ChatGPT, cybercriminals can now send more convincing phishing emails to unknowing victims. One study revealed a massive 1,265% increase in email phishing victims in the months following ChatGPT.

Tools like Ahrefs allow you to conduct regular website and backlink audits to quickly identify and address potential threats like backlinks to low-security websites or substantial dips in your website traffic.

Also, ensure that you require your IT team to make it a habit to test and validate the integrity of your customer’s data, especially if you’ve recently started using a new tool or software program.

In today’s digital landscape, data holds immense value. It empowers businesses to make informed decisions that fuel revenue and expansion.

However, for cybercriminals, data grants access to victims’ financial accounts and credit cards.

Regularly assessing your data’s integrity ensures it remains current, accurate, and free from malware that cybercriminals could exploit to breach your systems.

Above all, trust your instincts.

If you feel uneasy about an email purportedly from your bank or the IRS, don’t hesitate to verify its authenticity by contacting them directly.

The inconvenience of waiting on hold for a few minutes pales in comparison to the catastrophic consequences of falling victim to a cyberattack.

Boosting Your Domain Rating (DR) with Ahrefs Using Security Measures

Domain rating (DR) is an Ahrefs metric that measures the overall quality of your website’s backlink profile.

It’s the first metric you’ll see when researching a website using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

Best Wordpress Security : Adnivate
Best Wordpress Security - Adnivate Digital Marketing Agency

Despite the folks at Google downplaying the role backlinks play on search rankings, your website’s DR score is still a good indicator of how well your website will rank on SERPs.

Here’s why. When Google decides which sites to display in its search results for a specific query, it prioritizes content quality.

One method they use to assess content quality is by examining the number of reputable websites linking to it.

In essence, quality backlinks.

Best Wordpress Security : Adnivate
Screenshot From Google Search’s How Results Are Automatically Generated Document.

These are the same criteria that Ahrefs considers when calculating your website’s DR score.

However, generating lots of backlinks isn’t enough for your website to rank high on SERPs. It could even cause your search rankings to drop, as my boss, David Ellis, Founder of Teranga Digital Marketing explains:

The best way I can explain this is by saying, “Birds of the same feather flock together.” If you only have a few backlinks pointing to your site, but these are from websites owned by respectable companies and industry leaders, Google will see you as such.

On the other hand, if you generate lots of backlinks, but these are coming from low security websites, guess what? Google and other search engines will also consider your website low quality. So, instead of ranking higher, your search rankings drop, or you don’t appear on SERPs at all!

So, if you’ve noticed your DR score, check where these are coming from by clicking on Referring Domains on the left sidebar.

Best Wordpress Security : Adnivate
Best Wordpress Security - Adnivate Digital Marketing Agency

If you see websites with little or no traffic, it could be a sign that this is either a low-security or blocklisted website.

Submit these domains to Google using Ahrefs’ Disavow Tool so search bots will ignore these backlinks the next time they crawl your website.


Website security plays a vital role in establishing a strong online presence, particularly for WordPress websites.

A secure website fosters trust with your target audience by safeguarding their personal information and transactions from cyber threats.

Simultaneously, it signals to Google and other search engines that you offer an exceptional page experience to your customers, leading to improved search rankings.

The strategies outlined in this article serve as initial measures to fortify your website against cybercriminals. Consistent monitoring and vigilant practices will minimize the risk of your website falling prey to a cyberattack.

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Team Adnivate
Team Adnivate

Adnivate is a full-service Digital Marketing Agency based out in New York, USA.

Contact us for your specific Website Development, Digital Marketing, or Social Media Marketing needs!

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