5 Ways Focusing On Privacy And Security Could Boost Your Traffic

By Bill Hess November 12, 2018

Web traffic

While the surest way to boost traffic to your website is to fill it with informative, SEO-friendly content, there is another way to boost your traffic.

Believe or not, by focusing on the privacy and security aspects of your site, you can increase your site’s traffic.

In this article, I’ll share 5 ways that focusing on privacy and security can boost your traffic.

I’ll look at adding an SSL certificate, tell you how to increase your TrustRank, show you how keeping your website up-to-date affects your traffic, and much more.

1: Add an SSL Certificate to Your Site

Right up front, I’ll admit that adding an SSL certificate to your website might only result in a small boost in traffic to your website. However, it could result in much-improved traffic down the line.

Google announced in 2014 that it would be using HTTPS as a ranking signal. As users continue to become more concerned about online privacy and security, having a properly configured SSL certificate installed could provide better traffic numbers.

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL certificate, which is also known as a Digital Certificate, creates a secure link between your website and a visitor’s browser.

The certificate ensures that all data passed during a user’s visit remains private and secure.

SSL encryption is particularly important if you sell products or services on your site, as the encryption protect the user’s payment and other sensitive information.

However, even if you don’t sell anything, an SSL certificate helps add credibility to your website.

Installing an SSL certificate on your website is easy. However, the SSL certificate installation process can vary according to whether your site is hosted on your own servers or a web hosting service, the software being used on the server, and more.

Contact your web provider or your IT department for more information on installing an SSL certificate.

Pricing for an SSL certificate can range from free (such as the certificates offered by Let’s Encrypt), to hundreds of dollars per year.

Again, check with your web hosting provider or your IT department for more information.

2: Use HSTS to Improve Security (and SEO)

As I described in the previous section, installing an SSL certificate (HTTPS), on your website helps protect the privacy of your users by encrypting the traffic between them and your website. However, there is a flaw in HTTPS leaves your site open to hackers.

If a website uses what is called a 301 redirect to force a user’s browser to load only the secure version of the website, hackers can slip in during the redirect and force the website to use the insecure version of the site, leaving users open to having their information stolen.

Website owners can avoid this issue by using HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to force web browsers to communicate with the site only via a secure HTTPS connection and never use an insecure HTTP connection.

HSTS helps page load speed and SEO by making your web pages load more quickly.

Load time is an important factor when it comes to the user experience, as well as search rankings.

Google released a study in 2017 saying the average mobile website’s landing page takes 15.3 seconds to load on a 4G connection.

However, 53% of those surveyed indicate they’ll abandon a mobile web page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Page load speed directly affects user metrics, such as the time spent on a site, how many pages they view, and the bounce rate.

If a browser tries to load a page using only HTTPS, there will be a delay, as it will first attempt to load the unsecured version of the site before being notified that there is a secure HTTPS version.

If HSTS is enabled, the browser will only use HTTPS, eliminating the lag time involved in switching to the secure version of your site.

3: Increase Your TrustRank

First, let’s take a look at what a TrustRank is. TrustRank is a numerical value Google assigns to every page on your website.

The search giant carefully considers several factors to help users gain more trusted information through their search engine.

If your site has a high TrustRank rating, it will help improve its position on the search engine, leading to more traffic.

There are many ways to increase your TrustRank, including:

  • Find sites already trusted by Google and increase backlinks from those sites. FInd sites that rank high and receive a high amount of search traffic.
  • Measure the quality of a website by measuring both its domain authority and its Pagerank.
  • Look for sites with backlinks from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a good source for getting backlinks.
  • Look for backlinks from aged domains. Many older domains are known to have a high TrustRank.
  • Include Google authorship information on your site. By increasing your author rank, you’ll see improvement in your site’s TrustRank.
  • As I mentioned before, have an SSL certificate installed on your site.
  • Include contact information on your website.
  • Include a privacy policy on your site.
  • Include genuine backlinks, and make your website user-friendly and easy to navigate.
  • Always have accurate information on the site, which will improve the TrustRank.
  • When buying a domain name, opt for multiple year purchases of the domain rights instead of only paying for a single year.
  • Last, but certainly not least: Make sure to keep your website updated with new content.

4: Keep Your Website Software and Plug-Ins Up to Date

Keeping your website software up to date is an important factor to avoid being penalized by Google.

If your website is hacked, it can be flagged by the search giant, impacting your search rankings and the amount of traffic being directed to your site via Google’s search results.

One report indicates that 45% of the owners of websites that had been hacked reported they saw their search traffic impacted. 9% saw a traffic drop of over 75%/

Have you ever seen a warning from Google when clicking on a link that the website has been reported to contain malicious software? That could be your site if you don’t keep your software up to date.

Keeping everything up to date is particularly crucial for websites that use WordPress and other popular types of content management frameworks.

WordPress itself has long been a favorite target of the bad guys, who exploit security holes to hack your site and steal information about you and your users.

WordPress regularly updates their software to plug security holes and will notify you when an update is available.

So stay alert and update your software when WordPress notifies you that an update is available.

Another security hole comes in the form of plug-ins. The WordPress plug-in community is a thriving group, with thousands of helpful plug-ins available to enhance your website and extend its capabilities.

While plug-ins are useful, they are also a popular target for hackers. Make sure to keep you installed plug-ins up to date to keep the security holes closed.

5: Be Proactive When it Comes to Website Security

A recent GoDaddy small business website report indicated only 30% of small business owners surveyed said they regularly checked their websites for security issues.

40% said they rarely, if ever, test for vulnerabilities. Yet, when it comes to malware attack victims, 58% of the victims are small businesses.

1-in-5 small-to-medium-sized businesses were hit with a ransomware threat in the last year.

Of 1,000 small businesses, nearly half reported losing money due to a hack, and 1-in-8 said the loss was greater than $5,000. 3-in-10 who were hit with a cyber attack said they had to inform their customers, jeopardizing those relationships.

This is why it pays to be proactive when it comes to website security. In addition to the previous four steps, also stay alert to website security vulnerabilities.

Pay attention to security alerts from your software vendors as well as your web host. There are also monitoring and detection services that can catch vulnerabilities and hacks and nip them in the bud before they become an issue.

Check with your web host or your IT department for information on how to be proactive in protecting your website.

Over to You

It’s tough enough to get noticed on the web, without worrying about privacy and security issues that can slow traffic to your site to a dead halt.

By staying proactive about protecting the privacy and security of your visitors, you’ll ensure that your website will remain visible to prospective customers.

By taking the time to install an SSL certificate, ensuring your website only uses the secure version of your page, improving your TrustRank, and keeping your website’s software and plug-ins up-to-date, you’ll avoid the problems that will affect your web traffic.

Stay alert, and take the time to secure your site. It will result in a better Google site ranking, and as a result, will keep traffic flowing to your site.

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Bill Hess

Bill here from Pixel Privacy. Whether it be one of our in-depth guides or our expertly crafted “how-to” articles, we’re here to show you how to stay safe online. We believe everyone has the power to keep their data secure, no matter what your level of tech expertise is and our site will show you how! 

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