When devising your latest search marketing campaigns, there is one critical factor you could be forgetting – website security. There are many ways that poor website performance and web security can undermine the effectiveness of search marketing efforts. Here are the top factors to consider before launching your next SEO campaign:

Website Page Speed

image2Google is now placing more importance on page speed and load time in its ranking algorithm. The latest reports show that a 1 second delay in page load time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. If your site has poor load times, you could be wasting money on campaigns driving traffic to the site, only to have visitors bounce.
Google’s Page Speed Insights is a great place to get a baseline for your website speed. If you see a low score on desktop and/or mobile, you’ll want to hire a skilled web development team or developer to run further speed tests and isolate the issue. A slow load time can be caused by several factors, including the server where the site is hosted, the optimization of images on the site, and the customization of plugins and software.

SSL Certificate

image1It is no hidden secret that Google provides a ranking boost to sites with an SSL certificate. Web browsers are now pushing website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS – adding an SSL certificate to their websites – to provide safe browsing for all. On Chrome & Firefox, you’ll see browser warnings for all sites with HTTP (no SSL), even if it’s an informational, non-e-commerce site.

Search marketing campaigns can fall flat if the second a visitor lands on your site, they see a browser warning that the site is “unsecure.”
One note of caution – don’t install an SSL certificate on your own. Consult with a skilled development team or hosting provider. If configured incorrectly, the switch from HTTP to HTTPS can cause redirect issues and site downtime.

Malware and Hacked Website Warnings

image3Another type of warning that can drive away visitors is a malware infection notice or hacked site warning. A website that has been infected with malware, which is a broad term for any malicious software, will be labeled with a warning by browsers or search engines. There are different variations of this warning, but all tell visitors to stay away.
Unfortunately, website hacking and malware infections is a growing threat for all businesses. Google reported a 32% increase in hacked websites in 2016 compared to 2015. The worst case scenario is that the hacked website is blacklisted by Google, meaning it is completely removed from the search index. Google blacklists between 10,000 to 15,000 websites every single day.

To prevent these security issues and the accompanied warnings, consider setting up a security monitoring software on your website that can detect breaches. The Google Diagnostics tool is another way to check if Google has labeled your website as ‘unsafe’ due to malware. Finally, if you see unusual activity on the site, act quickly by contacting experts in website security and malware removal.

Prevention is Key

Since your website is the hub of all your marketing campaigns, any security breaches will affect your bottom line. With website security and performance, the best approach is to set up preventative measures, such as an SSL certificate, security monitoring software, and secured optimized hosting, so that you aren’t caught off-guard.