Every website owner wants to ensure a high SEO ranking for his or her website. However, few really know about the different factors that influence SEO ranking.
One of the areas that people often miss is how SSL benefits SEO strategy. In this blog, we take a closer look at the SEO benefits of having SSL encryption for a website.
If you own a website for your brand promotion, you are most likely to be concerned about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Because you know that, you need to work out a few things to ensure that your website pages and the content in them comply with Google’s algorithms if Google must list your website on its Search Engine Result Page.
But have you ever thought about the correlation between your website’s security and SEO ranking?
If you have not, be informed that both have a strong link. And when it comes to website security, the first thing that matters is whether your website has been protected by an SSL certificate or not. Before we go to discuss it, let us first try to understand what an SSL certificate is.
What is SSL?
SSL is the abbreviation for Secure Socket Layer. It is a protocol designed for a website to encrypt the data.
After you have installed an SSL certificate on your website, the URL of your website will switch from “http://” to “https://”. Moreover, at the start of the URL at the address bar on the web browser, a padlock icon will appear indicating the website being visited is secure with SSL.
An SSL-encrypted website enjoys insulation from tampering, eavesdropping, and hacking attempts.
Why Is It Important to Have an SSL Certificate for Your Website?
If you own a website that collects any type of user data, it is important to protect your website with SSL certification.
Today, more than 75% of the websites out there are designed to collect user data through comments, feedback, payment gateway and many more.
If your website is not encrypted, chances are high that the information being passed to your website server from a user’s browser is leaked.
It will affect your brand’s reputation, causing your potential customers to suspect your website’s authenticity.
On a further level, it will signal to Google that your website is vulnerable to threats.
Although Google does not explicitly say that it will not rank websites without SSL, there are many studies that verify Google demoting vulnerable websites. In addition, not having a valid SSL certification is the number one reason that adds to a website’s vulnerability.
How SSL Benefits SEO Strategy?
Having said that, let us now come to our core topic, which is how SSL benefits SEO strategy.
As you already know, Google ranks a website in its Search Engine Result Page (SERP) after validating it against a plethora of criteria. Although the relevance and readability of content and the natural inclusion of keywords come at the forefront of these, the website’s security is also an important factor.
Google Chrome, Website Security, and SEO
Today, the majority of internet users use Google Chrome to visit websites. According to the most recent reports, 77.03% of users globally. The latest version of Google Chrome strictly warns users when they are about to visit a website that is not encrypted with SSL.
This would mean if your website were not SSL encrypted, more than three-quarters of your potential visitors would figure out it is not safe to visit your website.
So, even before SEO steps in, you are losing a sizable number of your visitors. On top of that, Google identifies the websites that are frequently turned down by visitors due to security warnings.
SSL as an SEO Complementing Factor
By having an SSL-encrypted website alone, there is no possibility that you will get a high SEO ranking.
SSL integration of your website should be complemented with many other factors. However, a recent study has found that 8 out of 10 websites that appeared in the SERP were SSL enabled.
The reports shared by Cloud Tec, a web agency, approve this. When they switched from the HTTP version of their website to the HTTPS version, they could see a noticeable improvement in their website traffic and keyword-based ranking.
SSL as a Page Speed-Boosting Element
If you have tried to understand the various factors that affect SEO, you may have noticed that Google considers the loading speed of web pages as a ranking factor.
In other words, websites or web pages that load faster are more likely to have higher SEO rankings by Google than pages that load slower.
If you compare two websites – one with SSL encryption and the other without SSL encryption, the former will load faster than the latter. The reason is that SSL can improve page speed and subsequently SEO ranking.
SSL Improves Mobile Optimization and Thus SEO Ranking
More than half of people today use a smartphone or a tablet to access the internet and various internet-based services like websites.
This was not the case a few years ago. Hence, mobile optimization of websites has become essential for website owners to increase their SEO ranking.
To have the maximum benefits of SEO strategy, you need to incorporate mobile optimization in your planning.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AM) and HTTPS are two basic requirements for mobile optimization. In addition, for both, you need to enable SSL.
SSL Helps Store the Referral Data
HTTPS websites, which are SSL enabled, can store referral data. On the other hand, the HTTP version of websites does not have this feature.
Referral data is an important source of input for webmasters to analyze a variety of user-related data.
When a visitor visits a website from a link or uses different links within the website to access different pages, the user’s navigation behavior can be quite useful data for the webmasters to rank the website for Search Engine Optimization.
How to Get Started With SSL?
If your website is still HTTP variant, it means your website is not encrypted yet. Therefore, you need to purchase an SSL certificate and get it installed.
You can purchase single-domain, wildcard SSL, EV SSL, multi-domain SSL, etc. Obtain your SSL certificate from a genuine Certificate Authority (CA). When you request for the certificate, they will ask you to send them a Certificate Signing Request (CSR).
You can generate this request from the control panel that your web hosting service has given you.
This request will help the CA to confirm that you are the actual owner of the website. Once the verification is over, you will receive the SSL certificate from the Certificate Authority.
You can install it via the same control panel from where you generated the CSR.
Note that there are different types of SSL certificates – single-domain SSL certificates, multi-domain SSL certificates, wildcard SSL certificates, Organization SSL certificates, and Extended SSL certificates.
Try to understand each type of SSL certificate on a deep level and compare each with your requirements. Choose a certificate that best suits your needs.
An SSL-encrypted website is mandatory not only to have a high SEO ranking but also to build trust for your website. We hope this blog helps you get a good overview of what SSL and SEO are and how SSL benefits SEO strategy.