The reliance on digital platforms for business transactions has led to an increased demand for website security. According to a study, 66 percent of CIOs (Chief Information Officers) are planning to increase their cybersecurity investment in response to evolving threats. Web Application Firewalls (WAF) is one wise investment to prevent cyber threats, providing a strong layer of protection for web applications.
The significance of WAF in protection against cyber threats is enormous, but does it have anything to do with SEO ranking? This blog will explore the SEO benefits of implementing a Web Application Firewall, shedding light on how this security measure can positively impact a website's SEO performance.
What is a Web Application Firewall (WAF)?
A Web Application Firewall monitors and filters traffic between the website and the user accessing the site. Imagine a website is your home and people outside our traffic. You want to open the door of your home but keep bad actors away.
The firewall acts as a locked house door. It sits between your website and traffic. It adds a layer of protection that keeps threat actors at bay while safely allowing safe traffic to pass through.
Web Application Firewall (WAF) offers an array of web security benefits. This includes defense against general web application attacks, improved security for custom applications, regular monitoring and threat intelligence. Besides, WAF protects against DDoS attacks and helps organizations comply with security standards.
By integrating a WAF into your security regime, your website’s defense is guaranteed. This delivers peace of mind that your valuable online assets are well-secured.
How does a WAF work?
To understand the impact of WAFs on search engine ranking, it is vital to comprehend how WAFs work. Before visitors access your site, they have to pass through the WAF. This decides whether they’re legitimate traffic or not. If they meet the definition of bad actors or scams, they are immediately blocked.
Intelligent WAFs’ continuously patch vulnerabilities in the websites upon discovery, providing sufficient time for developers to fix them. This guarantees that the malicious actors and traffic do not get access to the server through those vulnerabilities.
A Web Application Firewall is a robust network security solution that is positioned between a web application and a client endpoint. Let’s understand what is network security to better comprehend the functionality of WAF in securing your infrastructure.
SEO & Web Security: A Non-Negotiable Connection
Does your SEO ranking drop? Is your site secure? If your website is not secure, you will not get enough conversions. Google has publicly announced that websites with HTTPS encryption will rank higher on search engine pages.
This is a sure sign that web security is directly related to SEO, and having security measures such as WAF in place will increase your SEO ranking. Google has also announced that websites without HTTPS encryption will be flagged as “Not Secure.” So, it is not just about ranking signals; it's also about visitor behavior once you’ve got them on your website.
According to a Hubspot study, 82 percent of visitors leave a site that is unsecured. This is a direct loss of all the SEO efforts you invest in to boost your online visibility.
How does WAF Boost SEO Ranking?
Besides guaranteeing top-level security and delivering credibility, WAF also boasts SEO benefits, such as
Boosting Search Engine Ranking
Hackers can sometimes delete web pages, which means the content on specified URLs won’t be available anymore. If your site is being hacked, Google will consider your site as insecure and may drop your SERP ranking. Google bots don’t like when a lot of content on your site is missing. That’s why implementing a WAF is crucial for organizations.
A WAF proactively manages threats before they attack your website. It blocks malicious actors and illegitimate traffic and prevents vulnerabilities on your site from being exploited. Additionally, some advanced WAFs can also help safeguard against zero-day threats. This, in turn, helps increase website credibility and boosts your online ranking.
Improving Website Performance and Uptime
Being hacked also means considerable downtime. If your site is hacked, the content or service you were offering will no longer be accessible to legitimate users, for instance, in Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks.
Google bots will try to recover your data by indexing your site. However, if the issue persists, it will impact your SEO ranking. A managed, intelligent WAF is able to manage sudden traffic spikes. It provides your website with multi-layered protection to prevent DDoS and other attacks that can result in website downtime.
WAF not only filters out malicious traffic but also optimizes website performance. It reduces server loading time and improves response times. Websites that load faster and experience minimal downtime impress Google for getting the top rank on SERP. So, by implementing WAF, websites can receive higher rankings, improve user experience, and increase organic traffic.
Enhancing User Experience
A WAF protects websites from malicious activities that could negatively impact user experience. A website with a “Not Secure” sign is an obvious deterrent for visitors. When a website is secure, users are more likely to stay longer, explore more pages, and engage with the content. This leads to reduced bounce rates and increased rankings on search engine result pages.
Protecting Against SEO Scams
Have you heard about SEO spam? SEO spam is directly related to your SEO, and its existence implies a significant drop in ranking. It involves adding spam content or spam links in your site content that redirects users to malicious sites.
If Google spots that your content is compromised or cloaked from Google bots, it will put your website on the Google blacklist. This means such hacks with malicious links can drastically drop your SERP ranking.
WAFs can help protect websites from such negative SEO techniques that are incorporated by competitors or malicious actors. By countering negative SEO practices, such as content scraping or spam links, a WAF ensures the website's SEO efforts are not compromised.
Increasing Website Credibility
Implementing a WAF demonstrates a website owner's commitment to security and user protection. With HTTP encryption and the implementation of Web Application Firewalls, website owners reflect that they take users’ security seriously.
Such robust security measures in place are viewed as trustworthy and credible sources of information. This increased trust can lead to higher click-through rates and improved search engine rankings, which subsequently translates into a strong customer base.
Implementing Web Application Firewalls ensures website security as well as boosts online visibility. By enhancing website performance, reducing downtime, ensuring fast loading, and enhancing user experience, businesses can enhance the search engine ranking of their website. We recommend prioritizing your website security through the implementation of a WAF to achieve SEO goals and stay ahead in the competitive online landscape.