SSL certificates – why they’re important and what you should do
An SSL certificate gives your website SSL functionality. You will probably have seen this in action many times but might not know exactly what is going on. When you look at your browser, usually to the left of the address of the page you are visiting, you will normally see a padlock. If the padlock is closed the website has an SSL certificate.
You can also tell if a website has an SSL certificate by looking at its URL – if the URL starts with HTTPS, it has an SSL certificate. If it starts with HTTP, it doesn’t.
What is SSL?
SSL encrypts the data sent between your website and the browsers of your visitors. In other words, it protects information like passwords and credit card information while it is in transit over the internet. SSL certificates, therefore, improve the security of your website as they protect your data and the data of your customers. The abbreviation stands for Secure Sockets Layer.
The SEO impact of SSL
Back in 2014, Google announced that having an SSL certificate would help in your efforts to rank well in search. It is widely regarded as a minor ranking factor by most experts in the SEO industry, but Google does prefer sites that use SSL over websites that don’t.
There is an even more important reason to consider using an SSL certificate, though, and it concerns trust.
From January 2017, Google changed the way it presents the SSL certificate status of some websites in its Chrome browser. Previously, such websites would have an open padlock with an information icon that users could click on. This would give them a warning that the website is not secure.
Google has made this warning much more visible. If your website collects credit card information or passwords, and you don’t have an SSL certificate, Chrome will mark your site as “Not Secure” right beside the URL. In other words, users don’t have to click to get the warning and it is hard to miss.
In addition, Google plans to extend this change to all websites, including those that don’t collect sensitive information.
This could present trust issues for visitors, i.e. their browser explicitly stating that your website is not secure.
Luckily, SSL certificates are easy to implement through your hosting plan. It is worth doing for SEO and to demonstrate the trustworthiness of your website. You can order an SSL certificate from Pixel Internet today.