How Does Having an SSL Certificate Impact Your Site’s SEO?

October 29th, 2019 by Shelby Emens

Site security and user privacy have been a hot topic in the technological community lately. With big names like Google pushing for tighter security, it leaves website owners wondering what they need to do to ensure that their site is compliant with the best practices that will ultimately lead to them being favored in search results. One of the security measures that’s being pushed is ensuring that a site is secure. But what is a secure site and why does it matter? Here’s what you need to know about SSL Certificates and the role they play in your site’s SEO.

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What Is an SSL Certificate and How Do I Get One?

A Secure Sockets Layer Certificate is a means of creating an encrypted connection between a web browser and server. By using an SSL Certificate, an encrypted key protects sensitive information that is submitted by site visitors. If you’ve really got internet security on your mind, you can dig deeper by taking a more technical look at SSL Certificates.

There are paid and free versions of SSL certificates, and others may be included through your hosting service. Depending on your CMS and hosting provider, there are various ways to get your virtual hands on a certificate. For example, installing a WordPress plugin or rerouting your site through CloudFlare may be an easy and convenient option. If neither of these are possible or ideal, you can usually purchase one through your hosting provider or buy one somewhere else and install it manually.

Once you have it installed, it’s equally important to ensure that you keep your certificate up to date by auto-renewing it or making sure to renew it before the expiration date.

What Does an SSL Certificate Mean for Your Site and Its Visitors?

Which site would you rather make a purchase on: One with a red “Not Secure” warning clearly visible, or one boasting a green padlock ensuring that all of your information stays secure?

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It’s a no-brainer. Secure sites are more appealing to visitors because they are provided the comfort of knowing that any of their information that is passed onto the server will be encrypted. Enhancing user experience should be a top priority for your website. A site with a “Not Secure” warning may even scare off some visitors from completing any transactions or creating an account on your site. Installing an SSL certificate and having a fully secure site means that your site and its visitors can have peace of mind.

Do You Have to Have an SSL Certificate?

Technically, no—at least not yet. However, browsers are now making their users more and more aware of which sites are secure and which ones are not. For example, Google’s push for secure sites includes making the “Not Secure” warning more prominent on web pages, as well as favoring secure sites in search results. Some sites that aren’t secure even direct the user to a full warning page warning them not to continue before they can click through to the site. This definitely won’t help a site’s bounce rate.

Additionally, if your site’s connection isn’t secure, it leaves your users’ information vulnerable to people looking to get their grubby hands on it. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be the person sending the email to users letting them know their information has been compromised should the worst happen. Why not make your site secure and provide your users with the assurance they need before willingly giving you their information? Overall, having a secure site greatly enhances user experience, confidence, and the overall trust of your brand. If that wasn’t enough, whether or not you have an SSL Certificate can impact your SEO and search engine rankings.

What Does SSL Have to Do With SEO?

Having an SSL Certificate on your site is becoming more important than ever for SEO and search result rankings, and its significance will only increase. Search engines are rewarding sites that are secure and penalizing those that are not. According to an article by Neil Patel, data shows that sites with an SSL Certificate are getting increased traffic over those that don’t. Plus, as Google continues to place an increased emphasis on the importance of SSL, it will likely have an even bigger impact on SEO rankings as the years progress.

Much like Google’s push to require mobile-friendly sites for healthy SEO, a secure site is going to become the standard. If your site isn’t secure, then not only are you behind the times, but you are no longer following best practices. Many platforms that outline what your site does well and what needs to be improved will start to report that your site being not secure is an issue, if they don’t already.

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Making your site secure will let you take advantage of all of the current and future benefits that come with it. Now that you understand what an SSL Certificate is, how to get one, and why it’s crucial for your site, its visitors, and your SEO, contact Search Influence to make your site secure and enhance your SEO.

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