Even though physical security is a highly technical industry, most business owners are not aware of the constant stream of technological updates that can seriously impact their website. In most cases, they don’t need to be — IT stuff is usually outsourced or handled by the in-house staff. However, one change concerning SSL certificates has proven so important that we feel everyone should know.
It’s not often that new protocols or technologies emerge that are this important, but this — an SSL certificate — will help secure your website, boost your search ranking and add instant credibility with site visitors, all in one fell swoop. Yeah, it is that important.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a standard security technology for establishing a secure and encrypted link between a website and a web browser, or a mail server and a mail client such as Outlook. It is like the spinal column of your web security.
Usually, data is transmitted in plain text which leaves it vulnerable to digital eavesdropping. This data can be anything, from a mailing address in a form to credit card numbers on a checkout page. If an attacker intercepts this data as it passes through an unsecured connection, they can collect and use it.
This is why the SSL certificate is so important; it encrypts all of this data, allowing sensitive information to be transmitted securely. When a browser connects to a website secured by SSL, the browser checks for proof that it is secure, which is provided by an SSL certificate hosted by the web server. If authentic, the server and the browser establish a private connection. The website and browser then use shared cryptographic keys to encrypt information sent between them, check the integrity of the data sent and authenticate the identity of the transmitting party. You can tell if your site is secure by looking at the URL designation — if it shows HTTP it is not yet secured. Secured sites will have the HTTPS designation.
Having an SSL certificate adds safety to your website. However, credibility might be the most important reason you need one.
Why You Need an SSL Certificate
For years, search engines such as Google have been working toward Internet safety by encouraging website owners to adopt using the more secure HTTPS protocol. Some listened; then in 2018, with the release of Chrome 68, everyone started listening. With this update, any website without an SSL certificate was marked as “not secure.” Now everyone could easily identify secure and unsecured sites. Visitors to the unsecured sites started clicking away. While the websites were not any less secure than before, the new safety measure did exactly as it was intended to do, which was to drive people to secure, verified and therefore trusted websites. In fact, according to a recent survey by HubSpot, 82 percent of respondents said they would leave a site that is not secure. That means eight out of every 10 Chrome users are leaving your website immediately, and that hurts. Being in the security industry means demonstrating you value security — and the security of your customers — on every level. Without adopting this protocol, your site and your business look considerably less credible to potential customers.
An SSL certificate for your website also contributes to a better search ranking. Numerous studies have shown the correlation between HTTPS and higher search rankings, and Google confirms that installing SSL does provide a slight boost in search ranking.
An SSL certificate is relatively easy to implement and affordable. It costs under $100 a year and can be installed by your web host.
As more companies like Google strive to maintain a positive reputation, HTTPS will become increasingly important across all browsers. It will not be long before it is a critical factor for all website visitors verifying your credibility.