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SEO Best Practices: Are Backups in Place?

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
an illustration of two computers doing a file backup with a world map in the background and a white arrow between them

Can you imagine making sweeping changes to your website, or doing critical SEO updates across multiple pages, only to have a glitch that causes your entire site to crash?

Not only would you lose all your progress and have to start from scratch, but anyone looking at your website would get error messages. That’s bad for business, and site errors can have a negative impact on search engine rankings.

That’s why we consider website backups an SEO best practice. Here are some things to keep in mind to make sure your site stays updated without service interruptions or user experience issues.

Understand What Your Website Hosting Offers

Website hosting platforms offer backup options. But it’s important not to take a “set it and forget it” approach to anything as critical as this. It’s important to understand:

  • What hosting backups include

  • What isn’t being backed up/where you’ll need additional protection

  • How often data backups are performed

If the latest best practices in site backups and storage aren’t being incorporated by your hosting company, you’ll need to be prepared to address any gaps so no important data or information is lost.

Understand Where Additional Backups are Stored

If your hosting company offers additional/premium backup options, or if you decide to incorporate additional backups yourself, it’s important for your team to understand where additional backups will be stored.

Ideally, you’d like the latest version of your website backup stored on multiple servers, so that if one server crashes, an identical backup on a different server can be used without any site downtime or service interruption for your visitors.

Don’t Rely on Only One Type of Backup

Cloud storage is the wave of the future, but there’s never a guarantee that your cloud storage option will be without issues. We suggest saving the latest copy of your website to a hard drive after a backup. Keeping that “offline” storage option updated and safely stored will mean you can be present for your customers and community even if there are service issues with your server, or outages due to natural disasters.

Keep Backups Encrypted and Secure

Keeping backups encrypted ensures client/customer data isn’t lost or compromised. This is a great practice for any business, but especially important if doing business requires a regular exchange of sensitive or confidential information (including in healthcare, IT, or ecommerce).

Schedule Backups Regularly

Scheduling regular backups is critical, whether you make significant site updates or not. That way, you don’t lose any website date, and you can feel confident you’re doing everything you’re able to keep your company online and engaged. You can do this through a cron job, manually, or both; just remember to be diligent about backup-related tasks. Depending on your site complexity and data sensitivity, you may opt to do daily or weekly backups. Monthly backups are recommended at minimum.

Stay Aware and Alert

Across your organization, be sure the key people working on your site know where backups are stored, what the process for pulling backups is (if you pull them manually), and how often backups are done. Develop SOPs to implement backups in the event of any site errors or server issues, so that problems are rectified as soon as possible.

We also suggest testing your backups, especially after adding a new backup option to your process, so you know it will work if you need to put a backup version of your website in place.

All in all, awareness and due diligence are beneficial anytime you’re doing business online, but especially when it comes to website protection and data loss prevention.

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