SSL certificate and search engine rankings – how are they associated? And more importantly, perhaps, what is SSL certificate?
With Google marking “HTTPS” as a ranking signal, it has become more important than ever for websites to have a certificate. More interestingly, a boost in Google search rankings for having a certificate is applicable to all websites, whether they use private data or not. This means, that even if your website does not have a login page, a checkout page, or capture user’s personal or financial information – you can still expect a boost in SEO rankings by getting an SSL certificate.
What is an SSL Certificate?
A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is a digital certificate that establishes an encrypted link between a browser and a web server. This cryptographically-generated link ensures that all information passed between the browser and the web server remains private and secure.
When browsing websites, you might have noticed two things in the URL – “HTTP” and “HTTPS.” This extra ‘s’ indicates the website has a certificate and the connection between your web browser and the website is fully encrypted and secure. So, you can securely share your data with that website.
Why Having an SSL Certificate Important for SEO Rankings?
Now that you know what is SSL certificate, let’s understand how it can affect your search engine rankings.
1. Google loves websites with an SSL certificate
In 2014, Google announced that “HTTPS” will be considered one of the top SEO ranking factors. This means that websites that have a certificate can expect a higher search engine ranking, given it also meets other criteria of a successful SEO strategy.
Google gives utmost importance to security, not just on their own platforms but across the Internet. The objective is to ensure improved security for users’ data who access different websites from Google. They also called for “HTTPS everywhere” on the Internet, ensuring an encrypted and secure connection between a website and browser. Therefore, they started using HTTPS as a ranking signal.
However, website owners must understand that merely having an SSL certificate will not get your site to the top of the SERPs overnight. Google induces websites to understand what is SSL certificate and also get one, but not at the cost of other important ranking factors like quality content, backlinks, user-friendliness, etc.
Google requires websites to take care of all vital SEO ranking factors, as well as HTTPS, to improve SEO for website and get higher rankings.
2. Improving SEO rankings by establishing trust and authority
Undoubtedly, the padlock sign and “HTTPS” before your website URL can significantly enhance the user experience. For the users, these signs indicate they are browsing your website via an encrypted and secure connection. This helps build trust and credibility. And a website that ensures improved user experience, trust, and authority is likely to rank higher in Google SERPs.
On the other hand, when a user tries to visit a website that is not secured by a certificate, Google Chrome will prompt them with a message that indicates that security might be compromised or the website is not secure. Most users will refrain from visiting such sites or quit browsing them. And where the bounce rate is higher, it can hurt the site’s SERP rankings.
Hence, it is important to understand what is SSL certificate and get one to secure every connection or communication made via your website. This is important because poor search engine rankings can drive less traffic, eventually impacting your link-building efforts, engagement rate, and more.
Conclusion – SSL and Search Engine Optimization
With malicious activities rising rapidly, privacy and data protection have become the topmost priority when browsing the Internet. In this scenario, it can be worthwhile for websites to know what is SSL certificate and get the same to provide the users with a secure browsing experience. At the same time, it can significantly boost your search engine rankings.
Therefore, it is important to determine the right type of SSL certificate you need for improved SEO rankings and get it installed on your website. Typically, your web hosting provider will offer you an SSL certificate for free or at an annual cost.
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