Are Cybercriminals Compromising Your Marketing Campaigns?

Cyberattacks compromising marketing campaigns

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Cyberattacks have a number of negative consequences for businesses. Some are obvious; others, less so. But, in general, we don’t hear enough about the negative consequences of cyberattacks on digital marketing campaigns, or more specifically, on search engine optimization (SEO). 

Your reputation with Google is built up gradually. It can take a lot of work over a number of years to create a site that is considered authoritative and ranks well through Google’s algorithm. It is also an extremely fragile system that can be drastically affected in a very short space of time. 

Indeed, just a single cyberattack can undo a lot of the carefully considered SEO work you have carried out on your site. These types of attacks are becoming increasingly regular – a report from cybersecurity specialists Redscan revealed that 72% of large businesses, 64% of medium-sized businesses, and 42% of small businesses identified at least one cyberattack against them in the past 12 months. 

Naturally, then, businesses need to do what they can to protect themselves, and understand the consequences of attacks. 

This article looks at the negative impact that a cyberattack can have on your website, your digital marketing communications, and ultimately your online business strategy.  

The Hacked Site Warning

Google is understandably hesitant to send its users to websites that might have been hacked. That means that when the search engine gets details or information that suggests that a hack might have taken place, it can take the step to put a warning message that states: “This site may be hacked”.

Another part of the bad news here is that Google actively recommends that users should not visit the site while the warning is in place. Additionally, as well as going through the process of fixing the issue, you will have to report the fix to Google before the message will be removed. 

How users interact with your site in the rankings has an effect on where the site is ranked. If you have a ‘hacked site’ message on your listing for an extended period it can negatively influence potential customers’ opinions of you for a period that extends further than the extent of the message itself. Remember too, with written content, visuals, and live videos being the main drivers behind most businesses’ digital marketing communications, it is unnerving to realize that most hacks begin with an email. 

The Problem of Downtime

An extended period of site downtime is never a good thing. Aside from upsetting your customers and limiting the success of your site, downtime can have negative consequences for your SEO. Once again we have to think about what Google wants to present to its users in its search rankings. When a user searches for a topic, Google wants to send them to a high-quality site that answers their question or serves their query.

It goes without saying that a site that is down can’t provide anything to a user. If the site has an extended period of downtime, it will begin to slide in the rankings. 

Cybercrime Can Lead To Bad Reviews

Increasingly, Google’s algorithm is using social signals to understand whether a site is beneficial to searchers. A good example of this is Google’s review section. If a brand consistently gets bad reviews it can lead to a fall rather than a rise in rankings that will soon reward your marketing department with the long-term success it’s striving for.

If a website is hacked it can lead to bad reviews – either directly as customers criticize the business for being hacked, or indirectly, as poor service as a result of the hack leads to bad reviews. 

Negative Content Changes

We often think of hacks against websites as exclusively being used to steal money or data from the business. But there is also the concept of negative SEO which is, unfortunately, becoming a common reason that sites get hacked. 

Criminals use the hack to weaken your site’s SEO often by changing the content on the site by modifying links or creating new pages.

How to Minimize the Risk

Cybersecurity is increasingly necessary as criminals and hackers become more sophisticated. To safeguard your digital strategy and sure up your future online business success it is more essential than ever to secure your website and optimize your ranking success rate with Google. This is also the magic key to protecting your digital marketing plans as a whole.

Although the rising cost of cybersecurity means that it can be expensive for smaller companies to have their own in-house team, it can be more cost-effective to use outsourced cybersecurity specialists for your security work. Businesses of all sizes with employees in-house or working remotely must invest in their cybersecurity measures.

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