We know you don’t need another carbon copy of Mashable’s “Heartbleed Hit List,” so we’re not going to give it to you, don’t worry. But there are still certainly some things that should be gleaned from this incident, and as arbiters of SEO truth, we’ll take it upon ourselves here at TrafficZoom to explain some of those next-step implications—and answer the question of “What do security breaches do to your SEO?”
Google took the biggest hit from Heartbleed, it seems, but they’ve applied a patch and told everybody to change their passwords. So everything’s good now, right?
Nope. At the end of the day, the ominous line remains in all of the Heartbleed-related articles: there’s really nothing users can do at this point except sit, wait, and see. But even before you can tell if you got hacked, knowing what someone might do with that information can be a great defense in anticipation of the worst.
For those of us in the SEO business, there are at least a few things you should definitely be aware of.
Malware Hurts Rankings
There’s really not much more to it than that. Because the Heartbleed virus essentially allows a hacker to send up to 64KB from the server back to the client, it’s not hard to slip in a Malware virus undetected.
This malware virus, then later detected by Google’s index, will cause your site’s ranking to drop like a hot rock.
Check your site for malware, and get it fixed.
Spam Spam Spam
If for some reason, enterprising black-hat SEO champions decide to hack into users with a bug like Heartbeat, your email accounts could be used for a simple purpose: spamming links.
All of a sudden, your credible email address is posting links on everyone and your mother’s comment sections, promoting a blog or site that you’ve never even heard of.
Don’t let people use your name for bad backlinks.
Jetpack: Automated or Overridden?
While Jetpack is an incredibly useful application for automated blog posting, its major flaw can have serious drawbacks for SEO.
A hacker can pretty easily bypass access on your Jetpack account, and begin posting blogs that bump up their PageRank. And they probably don’t care to adhere to your guest posting guidelines, either.
So doomsday theories aside about what Heartbleed can do to your online presence, it’s good to be equipped with some actionable next steps. Hopefully these can be that for you, and help you to protect what matters most: your standings on Google.