You wouldn’t want hackers gaining access to personal information or business data, which is exactly why you should buy a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate today.

Leaving everything to chance is never a good idea. Businesses often overlook security concerns, but you shouldn’t. Keep reading to find out exactly what SSL is and why your site needs it.

What is an SSL certificate?

Have you ever visited a website, only to be treated to a security alert claiming that the website is not secure? Maybe you even saw the big red cross sign right next to the URL.

Websites without an SSL certificate will show up as HTTP, while websites with an SSL protocol in place show up as HTTPS. This ‘s’ makes all the difference. The padlock icon tells you that the website is secured, while the big red cross warns you about potential safety issues.

This security protocol provides you with a secondary authentication as information between the web server and the web browser is secured.

Since 2017, Google started flagging websites that were not secured by SSL, meaning that users would instantly know that the website in question may be prone to cyber attacks.


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Why Do I Need One?

You may be looking at digital certificates as yet another cost. What are the chances that out of all the websites on the Internet, yours will be the one hackers will target?

That’s one way to look at it. What if we told you that SSL certificates have a direct effect on search engine ranking?

Google strives to provide users with the best user experience possible. Making sure that users know that their information is safe makes for a better user experience.

HTTPS is, therefore, seen as an SEO ranking factor. Google gives preferential treatment to websites that can establish a secure connection and keep their users safe.

It’s not just a matter of security, then. This is exactly why the SSL protocol has become an industry standard. There is no reason not to use one. Converting from HTTP to HTTPS might take some time, but it doesn’t have to be that hard. You’ll need to:

  • Purchase an SSL certificate. There are hundreds of SSL certificate providers out there. We’re not going to list all of them here but know that cheap certificates often come with a lower certification authority.
  • Get the certificate installed. The hosting company may be able to do this for you, otherwise hire a professional to install it for you and make sure everything works properly.
  • Remember to update all the necessary pages. Identify all the pages where sensitive information is submitted. You don’t have to target a page if it doesn’t hold sensitive information (in fact, doing so may slow your website down).
  • If you’re using Google Analytics or similar page tracking tools, make sure that you probably update the URLs of the now secured pages.

Make a Name for Yourself

A secure website screams professionalism. In some cases, an SSL or TLS protocol is necessary to do business (e.g. if you’re running an e-commerce website).

Even if you’re not, you could still benefit from establishing your website as safe and secure. No one wants to browse a website if Google says that it’s not safe.

A few years ago, no one really knew anything about SSL certificates. The increase in awareness should be attributed to Google. Today, many of us recognise the need for heightened security. You can show users and customers that you value security by installing your SSL certificate today.

If done correctly, you could have your secured website up and running in less than two days.

One Protocol to Rule Them All

Contrary to popular belief, HTTPS websites load much faster than HTTP sites. Improving page speed is crucial to ranking higher in Google.

The HTTP vs HTTPS website puts encrypted website protocols to the test. During each test, 360 unique, non-cached images are loaded. Depending on the browser and connection, the difference in speed can be tremendous.

The margin between HTTP and HTTPS is slight, but the new HTTP/2 protocol makes all the difference. When people talk about HTTPS, they’re basically referring to the new HTTP/2 protocol that was introduced in 2015.

As of June 2019, more than 35% of the top 10 million websites supported HTTP/2.

More than 50% of all desktop page loads are HTTPS connections, but less than 1% of all websites are actually secure. What can we make of this? Well, firstly, we can safely assume that the Internet is huge, and secondly, that users really don’t like visiting unsafe websites.

It should have become evident by now that a secure SSL connection will bring more traffic to your website. You wouldn’t buy anything off a website with a big red cross and a ‘Not Secure’ sign next to it so why would the average user behave any differently?

SEO Okay

One of the arguments used against switching to SSL has to do with SEO. Website migration can cause crashes, increase the number of uncrawled pages, and even result in penalisation due to content duplication (when both copies of the site exist at the same time).

After installing your SSL certificate, you need to add 301 redirects to redirect HTTP requests to HTTPS. This will basically ensure that users are redirected to the secure version of your website, even when they type in its HTTP version. This requires some coding experience so we recommend you just ask for professional help.

You also need to check for any non-HTTPS links that may still be present on your pages. You can do so by navigating to your website’s pages, looking for any HTTPS pages that may be flagged as ‘Not Secure’ by Google.

Once you’ve identified your flagged HTTPS pages, use Chrome’s developer tools to find the affected links. Just right-click anywhere on the page and select inspect. Click on the console tab and look for any highlighted errors. While you’re at it, check for any broken links to improve user experience and rank higher!

As business owners, it’s our duty to ensure that all sensitive information is stored securely. Contrary to popular belief, proper implementation of SSL certificates does not hurt SEO. In fact, HTTPS websites tend to rank much higher in Google.

Implementation of HTTP is easier when done through a website builder. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to the Best Free Website Builders now!