What Are The 5 HTTP Security Headers You Should know About SEO?

Why are security headers so often neglected while performing a website audit? Do you agree that security isn’t an issue when it comes to SEO? If you answered yes, you are incorrect in your approach; when a site is hacked and search traffic drops to zero, it becomes SEO-related.

Everyone who publishes anything on the internet should be concerned about security headers.

The best part is that they are simple to set up and will help protect your website and its users.

What are Security Headers?

Security headers are directive browsers should observe which might be handed alongside via the HTTP header response.

An HTTP header is a response by a web server to a browser that attempts to access a webpage.

The header is a response communicate issues similar to when the online webpage doesn’t exist (400 response header)

Or that it’s okay to obtain a font from Google however to not belief every other knowledge exteriors of the web site’s area.

In that case, the part that instructs the browser that it’s fine to download Google fonts but not to trust any information coming from anywhere other than the website itself is a security directive.

This type of safety directive may prevent a browser from downloading dangerous data from another website.

Security headers place limitations and directives in place to prevent unwanted safety events.

Why use Security Headers?

The automated bot software tool probes and tests websites for security flaws on a regular basis.

These flaws could be caused by the content management system, the java script library that was used to improve efficiency, or a security flaw introduced by a plugin or theme.

Websites that use security headers are said to be more resistant to security attacks. While a website can get by without employing security headers by keeping its components up to date and utilising security plugins, doing so exposes the website and its visitors to security risks.

For example, security plugins cannot prevent ad injections, which deprive a website owner of ad revenue.

One of the most compelling reasons to employ security headers is that they are quite simple to implement and ensure that a website continues to function normally.

Top 5 Security Headers

  • Content-Security-Policy (CSP)

The content material safety policy (CSP) helps to protect a website and its visitors against Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks and data injection outcomes.

Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

Cross-site scripting (XSS) exploitation occurs when hackers take advantage of a security flaw to inject malicious scripts into a website, which are then downloaded into the Sufferer’s browser.

XSS attacks take use of weaknesses in a content management system that allow for unexpected inputs to be inserted due to insufficient sanitization of user input files.

A restricted enter, for example, must normally be coded into an electronic message form.

A badly coded type could allow another enter, which could subsequently result in the insertion of malicious data.

A XSS attack can be used to steal passwords or as part of a multi-step hacking attack.

Injection attacks are classified as a critical security issue by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)

Injection attacks

“Injection is an attacker’s try and ship knowledge to an utility in a manner that may change the which means of instruction being dispatched to an interpreter.

For example, the commonest instance is SQL injection, the place an attacker sends “101 or 1=1” as a substitute of simply “101.” When included in a SQL question, this knowledge modifications the which means to return all data as a substitute of only one.

……Frequently these interpreters run with a variety of entry, so a profitable assault can simply end in important knowledge breaches, and even lack of management of a browser, utility, or server. Taken collectively, injection assaults are an huge proportion of the intense utility safety threat”

The content security policy by itself doesn’t 100% protect a site from attacks but it does assist in minimizing the possibility of a Cross Site Scripting attack.

A CSP Header tells the browser to download resources only from a specific set of domains, and only from those domains.

Any attacker attempting to download harmful scripts from a server outside of the trusted group will be denied access.

A content security policy can be as strict or as lenient as required by the publisher.

Note: Setting one up can be a little tricky because you’ll need to make a list of all the scripts and assets that are being downloaded from outside your area in order to whitelist them.

  • Strict-Transport-Security-Header (HSTS)

The HTTP Strict Transport Security header is also known as Strict-Transport-Security-Header (HSTS)

A large number of websites just have a 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS.

It’s still not enough to keep the website secure because it’s vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

HSTS prevents an attacker from converting an HTTPS connection to an HTTP connection, allowing them to take advantage of unsafe redirects.

For example, a man-in-the-middle attack is possible if a person writes in example.com to access a site without really entering in the https portion (or if they simply type http out of habit).

This type of attack can compromise a site visitor’s connection to the website, allowing the attacker to see any sensitive information exchanged between the visitor and the website.

Cookies containing sensitive information such as login passwords, for example, could be intercepted by an attacker.

According to the US government, there are three scenarios in which HTTPS can be degraded to HTTP, allowing an attacker to breach security.

The three ways https can be downgraded

    • When a user types “gsa.gov” into the URL bar, browser default to using http://
    • A user may click on an old link that mistakenly uses an http:// URL.
    • A user’s network may be hostile and actively rewrite https://links to http://

The HSTS header prevents this by instructing the browser to reject any HTTP connection.

HTTP transport security is very stringent. The HSTS header instructs the browser that only the secure HTTPS protocol should be used to access the complete page.

  • X-content-type-options

It’s a security header that prevents some types of attacks, such as those caused by harmful user-generated content.

Browsers can “sniff” whether a piece of content is a photograph (.jpg), a video (.mp4), or text, HTML, java script, and other sorts of content that can be downloaded from a website.

Sniffing allows a browser to get online web page components and render them effectively, especially when the metadata required by the browser to create the aspect is lacking.

Sniffing allows the browser to determine what type of aspect it is (a picture, text, etc.) and then render that aspect.

However, hackers aim to fool browsers into thinking a harmful JavaScript file is an image, allowing the browser to download and then implement that file, resulting in a range of negative consequences for the website visitor, particularly with what’s known as a Drive by download attack.

By blocking the browser’s ability to “sniff” for the content material kind, the X-content- type options headers can prevent that and other related attacks.

  • X-frame-options

The X-frame-options safety header aids in the prevention of click-jacking attacks.

Click jacking is defined by Mozilla as

“The observe of tricking a consumer into clicking on a hyperlink, button, and so on. that’s aside from what the consumer thinks it’s.

This can be utilized, for instance, to steal login credentials or to get the consumer’s unwitting permission to put in a chunk of malware.”

The X-frame-options header prevents an internet web page from being shown within an iframe, for instance.

Even though Microsoft describes body sniffing in this way, it protects against more than simply i-frame-based attacks

“Framesniffing is an assault method that takes benefit of browser performance to steal knowledge from a web site.

Web functions that enable their content material to be hosted in a cross-domain IFRAME could also be susceptible to this assault.

The X-Frame-Options header can be utilized to manage whether or not a web page might be positioned in an IFRAME.

Because the Framesniffing method depends on with the ability to place the sufferer web site in an IFRAME, an internet utility can shield itself by sending an acceptable X-Frame-Options header.”

The open web application security project (OWASP) clarifies click jacking attacks in the following way

“…imagine an attacker who builds a web site that has a button on it that says “click here for a free iPod”.

However, on prime of that internet web page, the attacker has loaded an iframe along with your mail account, and lined up precisely the “delete all messages” button immediately on prime of the “free iPod” button.

The sufferer tries to click on the “free iPod” button however as a substitute really clicked on the invisible “delete all messages” button.

In essence, the attacker has “hijacked” the consumer’s click on, therefore the identify “Clickjacking”.

The X-frame-options header is critical for both protecting your website’s visitors and maintaining its status.

The OWASP web page on click jacking goes on to discuss how Adobe Flash was the victim of a click-jacking attack that allowed hackers to seize control of microphones and cameras, solidifying Flash’s negative reputation as a security nightmare.

It’s risky for business to become known as a security risk on social media and the wider internet.

The X-frame-options header is a very useful safety precaution to take.

  • Referrer policy

A Referrer policy header’s purpose is to allow a website writer to control what information is distributed when a website visitor clicks on a link to visit another website.

When a visitor to a website clicks on a link and is redirected to another website, the visitor’s browser records the web page that was visited.

When you look at your server logs, the referrer information is distributed, which tells you which website sent visitors.

A Referrer policy header’s purpose is to allow a website writer to control what information is distributed when a website visitor clicks on a link to visit another website.

When a visitor to a website clicks on a link and is redirected to another website, the visitor’s browser records the web page that was visited.

When you look at your server logs, the referrer information is distributed, which tells you which website sent visitors.

There are eight directives that may be despatched utilizing the Referrer-policy header

    • Referrer-Policy: no-referrer.
    • Referrer-Policy: no-referrer-when-downgrade.
    • Referrer-Policy: origin.
    • Referrer-Policy: origin-when-cross-origin.
    • Referrer-Policy: same-origin.
    • Referrer-Policy: strict-origin.
    • Referrer-Policy: strict-origin-when-cross-origin.
    • Referrer-Policy: unsafe-url.

The normal referrer coverage setting is Header “no-referrer-when-downgrade,” which means that referrer information will most likely be sent to trusted HTTPS URLs, but no referrer information will be sent to untrusted HTTP websites.

It’s important to note that the referrer policy option has no bearing on affiliate connections.

The referrer information is encoded in the URL of the landing page, so the service provider receiving the affiliate referral can track the referrer information and revenue.


Many publishers and SEO experts overlook the importance of security headers. However, whether the audit is done out in-house or by a third-party SEO web site auditing company, security headers are critical and must be front of mind in every web site audit.

Because failing to reduce damaging safety points can undo each ranking-related success, web site safety is an SEO-related issue.

Ranking and sales can be harmed by a damaged status.

Loss of search visibility results in significant financial losses.

Because implementing security headers is quite simple, it should be one of the first things you check when launching any website.

If you are looking for capable SEO website auditing company or digital marketing agency than look no further than Stellar Digital. Simply, visit our website stellardigital.in and explore more about our website design and development, mobile app development and digital marketing services.