2017 is bringing some impressive changes for the web industry, but sites requiring SSL Certificates is something that is still being overlooked. Google now gives a small ranking boost to website’s that install and configure a site-wide SSL Certificate, however, not everyone is taking advantage of this.
At the end of January 2017, Google introduced a ‘not secure’ label to sites that don’t utilise the HTTPS protocol. Here is what Google say about it in their Search Console help section and on their Security Blog. The visibility of this label on a site leaves users questioning both the safety of the site and their trust in the company and as a result, customers are more likely to look elsewhere. This coupled with the potential ranking benefit means that a site-wide SSL Certificate is now a no-brainer.
What Is An SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer which works to ensure visitors information on your website is secure. The SSL Certificate provides an encrypted link between the server and your visitor. When data has been collected and is being transmitted to and from the site, it is encrypted so that sensitive information stays safe from any prying eyes. A user will know when a site has an SSL Certificate installed through the display of a lock or secure bar (depending on the type of certificate you install) usually located at the top of the web page. The idea is that the visibility of an SSL Certificate on a site will provide much-needed trust to the visitors of that site. Traditionally, businesses protect and encrypt pages that collect sensitive information like checkouts or enquiry forms but the recent Google changes place more importance on protecting the entire website.
How Do You Get An SSL Certificate?
Acquiring an SSL Certificate is relatively simple but there are a few vital steps. First of all, you need to pick the right SSL for your type of website. At the moment there are three different types of certificate that will offer three levels of user trust for SSL…
Domain Validated Certificate
Domain Validated certificates are ones that are checked against the domain registry. There is no identifying organisational information for these certificates and they shouldn’t be used for commercial purposes. This is the cheapest type of certificate but is high risk to use on a public website.
Organisational Validated Certificate
These types of certificates are trusted. Organisations are strictly authenticated by real agents against business registry databases hosted by governments. These types of certificates contain legitimate business information and are the standard requirement for commercial or public facing websites.
Extended Validation Certificate
Nothing will provide more trust and security than a Symantec Extended Validation Certificate. It is used by most of the world’s leading organisations who have found that switching from OV to EV certificates increases online transactions through improving customer confidence. This is no longer a luxury but a necessity.
Once you own an SSL and have received all the important keys you will need to get your web host to install it for you. When the SSL is installed, you will need to redirect all traffic using the HTTP protocol to the HTTPS version, this is all done via 301 redirects. If you are inexperienced with the backend of your website you may need to ask a webmaster to help you with the setup.
Now you know the benefits of having an SSL Certificate on your site, make sure you avoid the ‘not secure’ label, start taking advantage of the increased Google ranking value and get one set up on your site quickly!