First, What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer Certificate, is a safety accreditation given to your website which ensures users that their sensitive information is safe while browsing your site. When browsing the internet, this certificate presents itself as a padlock icon or a green address bar that is shown by the URL. SSL Certificates are becoming increasingly popular and most users won’t visit a site that does not have one. There are many different levels of SSL Certificates which include varying levels of protection, as well as a range of costs. SSL has grown in importance immensely over the past few years due to the increase in online transactions. Unfortunately, with the increase in business there has also been an increase in theft, which has consumers and providers worried about safety. SSL Certificates provide peace of mind for both parties and ensure the safety of sensitive information that is transferred online. For a more in depth look at SSL and its importance, check out this article by 101domain.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a system used by companies to increase their rating on large search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. through many different strategies. Effective SEO can lead to exponential site and business growth by creating user-friendly environments. One of the strategies that can lead to efficient SEO is obtaining an SSL Certificate for your website. Companies are beginning to take SEO seriously as it has a growing significance in the marketing of their sites, and can draw many more visitors.

Are these related?

Yes! In more ways than you think, too. SSL is a newer type of technology that is growing in significance due to its necessity for keeping users safe. SEO works by boosting site accessibility, user experience, search ranking, and many other factors in order to improve ratings. SSL Certificates contribute to all three of these factors and are a necessary part of SEO.

Site accessibility : An SSL Certificate is designed to give users secure access to your website. Google’s transparency report stated that over 90% of the time that is spent on Chrome is on sites that are secure. This means that consumers will not want to access a site that is not secured by an SSL Certificate. It also means that most sites these days have a secure connection, with only 10% of browsing time being on sites that are at risk. Now how does this affect SEO? Well, if users are not visiting your sites because they are a risk to access, then your search ratings will plummet. So, SSL Certificates are a necessary step in efficient SEO because they allow consumers resourceful access.

User experience : One of the best ways to increase SEO for your site is to ensure that user experience (UX) is trending positively. Search Engine Watch summed it up well in their article discussing UX and SEO. They explain that “if someone leaves your website as soon as they enter it, returning back to the search results, it indicates that they did not find relevant information, and this can cause a drop in your ranking.” Why would someone leave your website as soon as they enter it? Well, like the article says, they may not have found what they were looking for. Or, they did not want to look because your site is unsafe; therefore, putting their information at risk of theft. For example, if you are selling something on your site, GlobalSign says that 85% of shoppers avoid sites that are not secure. Adding an SSL Certificate to your site will improve UX, which will in turn boost your sites rankings.

Search ranking : New data is surfacing that shows search engines are beginning to rank sites with SSL Certificates higher than sites without, which is the key part of SEO. The granddaddy of them all, Google, has stated in their webmaster blog that they have begun implementing this tactic into their search engine ranking formula. “We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.” For the team at Google to explicitly state that is a huge vote of confidence for those on the fence about obtaining an SSL Certificate for their site, and whether or not it will assist them with SEO.

Limitations

It seems as if obtaining an SSL Certificate has various pros in relation to boosting SEO. So, what are the drawbacks? Well, it is an expensive, and possibly time consuming, switch to make. SSL Certificates are developed so that you get the protection you pay for. There are single-site plans that offer limited protection for a small fee, and there are multi-site plans that offer intense security and come at a steep price. If a high-level security certificate is purchased, then the owner of the site will have to undergo various authentication methods which can take some time. Overall, the decision needs to be made as to how you want users to interact with your site. If you want to save some money, and are not worried about UX and their safety, then an SSL Certificate is not for you. If you want them to feel safe and trust that they will not lose their private information, then the purchase of an SSL Certificate is absolutely necessary.

Final Thoughts

SSL Certificates and SEO go hand in hand for a myriad of reasons. In order to have efficient SEO, it is widely encouraged that you protect your site by adding a Secure Sockets Layer. The addition of this certificate will begin establishing trust with users the second they click on your page. Once they see the padlock icon, or depending on your purchase, the green address bar; they immediately feel better about browsing on your site and it is statistically proven that they will spend more time there. Guess what that added visit time on your site does? You got it! It improves search ranking dramatically. With SEO, we know that a boosted ranking is one of the main goals, and I trust that you are starting to see the correlations between having a secure site and higher SEO.