The Importance of SSL for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)


Anyone who has been running websites is aware of the importance of installing SSL certificates on the site. It is used by almost all modern-day websites to enhance their security and assure users of their safety while transacting with them.

If you are dealing with the sensitive information such as credit cards and social security numbers, you cannot afford to skip on SSL certificates. Not having an SSL certificate opens you up the dangers of middlemen stealing the information being exchanged between the user’s browser and your website.

Have you noticed that businesses of all sizes are now installing SSL certificates? Even in cases where they do not need to handle any sensitive information. You can now find HTTPs even on blogging sites. The reason is SSL. Let us see how SSL impacts SEO.

Basics of SSL certificates

Before we get into intricacies of how an SSL certificate can impact your search engine rankings, let us see what it is and how it works.

An SSL certificate is installed on a web server as a unique digital identity, which means that the certificate issued for your website will not be provided to any other web server throughout the internet.

The trusted CAs (Certificate Authorities) involved in the business of generating, distributing, and verifying the SSL certificates are the providers of this security protocol. By providing your website with a unique and immutable identity, they assure the visitors of your website that they are sending and receiving data to/from your web server and not someone else who may be posing as you.

Also Read about: Best Plugins to Use for SEO Optimized WordPress Websites

There is one more goal that an SSL certificate achieves like it not only confirms your digital identity to the web browser of the site visitors, but it also encrypts all data being exchanged between your web server and the client browser.

This dual responsibility of confirming your identity and data encryption makes SSL certificates a crucial security protocol to assure safety in the modern-day internet.

HTTPs is a ranking signal

The security provided by SSL certificates is the reason why Google started educating webmasters about the importance of installing SSL certificates on their websites. Google never talks about the internals of its page ranking algorithm, but something changed in 2014.  Google spoke about HTTPs being a ranking signal right after it began lowering the ranks of sites that used plain HTTP in its search results.

Google even published a blog post informing the internet world about their move, which goes on to show the importance Google places on HTTPs. If your website does not have SSL certificate installed and relies on plain old HTTTP, your web pages will rank lower on SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages), and you cannot blame anyone but yourself for skipping on SSL.

Other ways in which SSL impacts your search engine ranking

There are different indirect ways in which not having an SSL certificate on your website will hurt your SEO ranking.

Google Analytics

When you are using Google Analytics, Google does not show you referral data if you are not using HTTPs, which prevents you from analyzing your traffic correctly. On the other hand, if you use HTTPs, you will be able to figure out the sources of traffic, allowing you to analyze your SEO marketing strategies better.

Not secure label

You get an unfair treatment on browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome if your website does not use SSL. Your visitors will be presented with a “Not secure label” in the address bar, which gives them an insecure feeling.

Most users do not understand the meaning of this label and may feel that something is wrong with your site. Many of them may leave your website right after opening the first page. This leads to an increase in your bounce rate, which is an essential factor in almost all search engine ranking algorithms.

Driving customers away

If your site does not have an SSL certificate installed, your website may be targeted by cybercriminals who may launch a MiTM (Man in the Middle) attack. Your visitors will have their information stolen, even if it is as simple as email addresses and phone numbers.

This will give you a bad reputation as time passes by and drive your customers to your competitors, resulting in their brand emerging stronger than yours. A strong brand not only brings in direct traffic but also pulls more traffic from SERPs even if the website is not ranked on the top.

Search engines like Google consider both direct traffic and clicks on search results as essential ranking signals. Over time, you will notice your site slipping lower in search results, even for keywords that were driving organic traffic to your website before.

Modern search engines like Google do not get fooled by stuffed keywords and backlinks anymore – they have their place in the scheme of things, but SSL is one of the most critical factors in SEO now.

Final Thought:

SSL is now become essential part of SEO and after the announcement of Google about SSL, it is quite necessary to provide strong security to customers and check best cloud hosting providers 2019. If the site throws a warning, it will damage ROI of your business as well forces your customers to move away from the site.

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