Google is Prioritizing SSLs: Are you Ready?
Updated: Aug 17
There are over 200 search engine ranking factors that are actively considered by Google before it ranks any website. However, SEO experts rarely know how certain algorithms actually work, as Google has safeguarded this information to avoid SEO manipulation. On August 6, 2014, however, Google let people in on a secret. Google confirmed that websites with an SSL certificate (HTTPS://) would get an advantage in the search engine results pages. 7 years later and SEO is a make or break for a company online. So, we are offering you a guide to setting HTTPS for the best SEO results.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a cryptographic protocol for establishing an encrypted connection between a client and a server. In layman’s terms, SSL is an extra layer of protection that offers security between a website and a website visitor. The SSL certificate ensures that no information will be leaked to anyone.
What is SSL Used For?
SSL is most commonly used to encrypt connections to web and mail servers, but can also encrypt connections between your smartphone and manufacturer servers. You’re probably already using SSL without realizing it. The “S” in HTTPS stands for secure, so basically, SSL provides a bi-directional data tunnel between two endpoints.
How Safe is SSL?
Certificates should be obtained from trustworthy authorities and kept secret, with read-only file system permissions that only authorized and trusted personnel can have access to. SSL is safe, but website security often depends on factors that aren’t necessarily related to SSL. If you are concerned about SSL vulnerabilities, check out this article by GracefulSecurity.
How Does SSL Affect Search Engine Rankings?
1. A boost in search engine rankings
SSL will provide an advantage over other websites that are not as secure or encrypted, as long as other SEO factors remain the same. It is important that you understand that simply having an SSL certificate won’t magically boost your site to the top of the results page. Make sure to take care of other SEO factors and then an SSL certificate will help boost your website over other websites in the same niche. A study done by Brian Dean from Backlinko found that “HTTPS is moderately correlated with higher search engine rankings on Google’s first page,” meaning, while there are some direct effects of SSL, having an SSL certificate can improve your website’s bottom line.
2. Improve SEO by Improving the User Experience
SSL certificates improve the user experience. If someone enters an unsafe website, they will be able to see visible indicators that the site is not secure and should stop browsing it. Google Chrome, since 2018, has marked all HTTP sites as “not secure” making it extremely important to have an SSL certificate. Google has created awareness about internet security and so internet users are more aware and hesitant to visit unencrypted websites. If visitors constantly land on your homepage and are instantly greeted with a message from Chrome saying the website is not secure and leaves quickly, Google will start to take notice. Google will eventually demote your website in the search engine results pages.
Installing an SSL Certificate
There are several different types of certificates you can obtain. Single domain, multi-domain, wildcard, organization, and extended certificates are common, and unless you are a large business with multiple domains, your best options are a single domain, organization, or the extended certificate. Cloudflare gives out free SSL certificates for your use.
Internet security is more important than ever with millions of businesses online. Google seeks websites that have SSL certificates and penalizes those who don’t. Having an SSL certificate will boost your SEO and improve user experience by providing protection and building trust with your customers. Install an SSL certificate now to improve your SEO.
Contact us here at The Profit Link, a small business support team based in Memphis, TN, to help you with SSLs or any other aspect of your business that needs tweeking. We want to link your business to profit! Here are the links to our social media, in case you want to follow us: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.