What is SSL?
SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer” and is a way to encrypt data a user inputs into your websites so that it can securely travel from their browser to your web server. You can easily find whether your website has an SSL certificate by whether the URL of the site starts with HTTP or HTTPS. If it’s loaded in your browser with HTTPS at the start, then you have an SSL on your website.
Why do I need one?
SSL certificates are more than just a “nice to have” feature for your website. The reality is, they have become a necessity if you are going to run a successful website that is safe for your users. It may not be compulsory to use an SSL certificate, but the rate at which unencrypted web traffic is intercepted, and the frequency that user computers and web servers are becoming compromised, is alarming to say the least.
So, where does this leave you, the average web page owner? Well, there are options to help mitigate the risk of running an insecure webpage, chief among which is the implementation of SSL certificates. It is only through this implementation that you will be able to reap both the rewards of higher search visibility through Google and enhanced security through encryption.
The end result is that your website will, by all appearances, be a more secure and official looking platform for your users to connect to. This helps to build your brand and lets your users know you take security seriously.
This ultimately reflects positively on you and your business, and helps you to stay ahead of the competition if they have not yet adopted SSL certificates for their websites.
SSL and Search Engine Optimisation
We already know Google has started rewarding websites that have implemented SSL with better search visibility, but how else does having an SSL certificate benefit your website’s search engine capabilities? Well, it might not be an obvious advantage when we first look at the way Google treats SSL-Certified websites versus standard ones.
When Google generates almost identical search results in terms of relevance, the SSL status of each website will then act as a tiebreaker in the most secure website’s favour. This means that SSL is not a magic bullet to fix your search rankings, but is instead an enhancement that needs to work together with all of your other SEO measures.
If your website shows up in Google searches more often, you will receive a bump in network traffic. That increase in traffic has the potential to bring in more customers, giving you a competitive edge over your rivals. This is an excellent perk, and by the looks of things, Google will not be changing this any time soon.