One of the recent frequently asked questions I’ve been receiving is, “Do I need an SSL Secure Website to boost my Google ranking?”
If you’re not familiar with the term SSL, let’s start with a quick definition.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer – this is a technology used to encrypt data that travels between a website and a user’s computer.
You are probably already quite familiar with SSL technology – you just may not have realized how prevalent (and useful) it is. Websites use SSL encryption to prevent hackers from intercepting and misusing the data users leave on a website (via checkout pages, as well as registration or contact forms). SSL largely functions using public and private encryption keys, out of which the former is used to scramble the information, while the latter decrypts it so that it could be read by someone monitoring the transmission.
On a website, the secure transfer via a standard SSL certificate is marked with a “s,” such as https://, in front of the website URL in the address bar, as opposed to http:// that represents a standard protocol on websites that do not use SSL.
When a person visits a https:// page, therefore, his or her communications, data and transactions are safe from potential information skimming or sniffing.
Gaining Trust with Your Web Users
Having a SSL certificate on your website can largely shape the way consumers perceive the company.
“Almost 76% of persons feel trust logos increase their sense of trust, while 61% of people are likely to leave a website if they feel something is missing.” - Actualinsights.com
When a proper trust badge is placed anywhere on a website, users feel more secure using their personal information on it, which helps in maintaining stable reputation online.
With people gradually becoming aware of online data security and privacy issues, business websites need to raise the standards in this respect.
Search Engine Ranking Factor
With over 200 factors affecting how Google ranks your website, leveraging every possible tactic available to you is important. Google announced at the end of 2015, that having an SSL Certificate is the easiest thing site owners can do to boost SEO ranking.
“At Google, user security has always been a top priority. Over the years, we’ve worked hard to promote a more secure web and to provide a better browsing experience for users. Gmail, Google search, and YouTube have had secure connections for some time, and we also started giving a slight ranking boost to HTTPS URLs in search results last year.” - Google December 2015
Google is usually tight-lipped about how its algorithms work, so it is clear that the company is determined that more sites should implement SSL to protect users as they browse every page on a website, not just during a transaction process. The search team says it’s making the Internet safer by “making sure that websites people access from Google are secure.”
The Essentials of a Successful Digital Strategy
With billions of commercial websites now serving the global market and collecting users’ personal data in one form or another, employing sufficient security practices is essential for a successful digital strategy. One of the most important web security measures, SSL, has been long established as an industry standard in the U.S. and other countries. It is now gaining more attention as one of Google’s search ranking factors.
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