Do SSL Certificates Affect Search Engine Rankings?
On the 7th of August, 2014, Google rolled out a notification stating that it will entertain pro SSL websites over those that do not have an SSL certificate protection.
However, Google did not state that your website must have the exact level and quality of content to get selected for higher rankings over another website.
Do not think that Google will make you sit on the throne just because you have an SSL; you have to have quality UX/UI, content and information.
But what is SSL, and why is Google emphasizing it so much?
Well, here is the answer.
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL or Secure Socket Layer Certificate is a standard security technology that keeps the data transfer secure and encrypts it to ensure that no hacker can creep in.
SSL performs the security process through asymmetric and symmetric cryptographic functions, which involves public, private and sessions key to carry out SSL handshake and communication essential for data security.
SSL protects your website and helps fulfill the PCI/DSS guidelines, which are essential to facilitate online transactions of your website.
Which Certificate is best for my Business?
There are three main types of SSL certificates, namely, Domain Validation (DV), Extended Validation (EV) and Organization Validation (OV).
Let's discuss all of them and then you can choose which one fits your requirements:
If you are a sole proprietor owning a small business website that does not generally see over 50--100 transactions over a month then, DV is for you.
It offers limited security, which is appropriate for small businesses.
These certs are for high-profile websites that see more than 20,000+ transactions in a month and are highly vulnerable to attacks. They offer maximum security.
These are professional certs used by corporations that enhance the website's visibility and are highly secure for large organizations.
Regular Vs. Wildcard SSL: Which one is better?
A regular SSL cert is used to secure a single primary domain. It cannot protect its subdomains.
Although single SSLs are highly effective as they do not have to focus on protecting multiple domains at a given time.
Wildcard SSL certificates afford protection to the chosen primary domain and multiple first-level subdomains.
They are highly effective and provide an equal level of protection to all first-level subdomains and the primary ones.
Both Wildcard and Regular SSL certs are equally effective. If you have a primary domain with multiple subdomains, then Wildcard would work best, but regular SSL is best in the case of a single domain.
SSL and the Ranking Factor
It Boosts Rankings
As mentioned above, Google announced that SSL-enabled sites would get more traction than those that don't.
However, just SSL won't make the magic happen. You need to back it with backlinks, high-quality content creation and a robust user experience.
So, SSL does impact your rankings when other important ranking factors are taken care of.
It Facilitates Optimum UX
Optimum user experience gets generated when users are satisfied.
Google weighs user experience in gold. If its algorithm acknowledges that a specific website is getting hits and users are spending an ample amount of time on it, it enhances their rankings.
But, how do SSL build UX?
When users see that they are surfing a safe site, they feel satisfied and tend to spend more time.
Moreover, SSL helps in satisfying and complying with Google's guidelines, which increases the search rankings.
Employ Improvised Marketing Strategies
Marketing is one of the most integral parts of every Business. Successful marketing strategies are made when a business has complete data to bank on.
SSL encryption provides you with data analytics that helps you figure out where most of your traffic is coming from.
By analyzing their demographics and nature, you can formulate your marketing plans effectively.
Robust marketing plans not only provide you with the best results but also increase your revenue manifold.
Thus, SSL helps in formulating robust strategies and increasing revenue.
It Builds Trust
Users these days are very particular about what they see on a website.
The grey padlock ahead of the URL signifies that the website is safe. When a user does not see it, he feels vulnerable as a result, and bounces back.
Most users know that SSL protects the website, and search engines like Google warn them against those who do not have an SSL certificate.
Not having an SSL in today's world means that you do not value your customer's integrity and privacy.
It is a big disservice to your customers and your business reputation in the long run.
It Prevents Hackers from Building Clones
Websites that do not have SSL are easy to exploit. Hackers can easily steal phone numbers, website information, traffic and customer information.
Once that is done, hackers can now build the same clone website as the primary website and drive direct traffic from genuine SEO techniques.
Things go south when your customers visit the wrong website that they think to be yours and end up giving their sensitive information to hackers.
Hackers then steal bank, credit and debit card information and sell them in the black market.
But an SSL prevents this from happening by not disclosing sensitive website information, contact details and traffic sources.
SSL certs are essential for websites in today's era. The ones who do not have these security protocols are making themselves vulnerable to theft.
As website owners, we need to understand our responsibilities towards our customers.
If they trust us and offer their time and money, we need to give them the best of experiences.
Fortunately, there is not much we need to do. SSL certs, firewalls, HTTPS encryption, can easily do the job for us.
So, value your customers by employing optimum security, and they will give it back to you by enhancing your reach and reputation.