Recently Google has added a ranking status for sites that have a security certificate, meaning sites that are behind HTTPS could be ranking slightly higher than sites that don’t have a security certificate. In this article we’ll discuss what is HTTPS and how to go about getting a security certificate installed on your site.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure“, which is the big brother to our HTTP connections. What HTTPS does is allow for secure connections to be established between a server and client using a set of communication rules/formats known as SSL (Secure Socket Layer). HTTPS is most commonly used in eCommerce websites or banking websites and you can tell you’re on a secure site by seeing a lock in the address bar of your browser, or the address bar is completely green.
How a Security Certificate Increase Your Rankings
Back in 2014, Matt Cutts, from Google, suggested he would like to see more sites offer web visitors the added security of being behind a security certificate, and reward them in through better rankings, if they had a SSL. Over the past few years, Google has been changing their content so that it is all coming from a secure connection and of course, wants site owners to do the same. At the moment, web professionals estimate that a security certificate only equates to approximately less than 1% of the over all algorithm, so don’t expect your site will jump from page 3 to page 1 just by installing a security certificate. This may change over the coming years.
Who Should Have a Security Certificate?
Any site that collects client credit cards or sensitive information, should definitely have one. I also believe that some industries, like the financial industry, should consider having a security certificate, as it gives the appearance to new client’s that they believe in keeping client information secure and protected. Even if all the financial company has is a web form. By showing client’s that you go as far as ensuring that their completed contact forms to your company are encrypted, it certainly gives the appearance that you take security and their private information seriously.
Getting a Security Certificate
10 years ago security certificates cost around $300, plus the cost to install them. Today, you can pick one up for as little as $50 dollars; depending on which company you purchase it from. Google suggests that you can easily set-up your site in HTTPS by using a 301 redirect, however this is a messy way of going about it. If you have no idea what a 301 redirect is or how to start the process of installing one, you will be better off hiring a web developer to handle the installation for you. Be sure that your web developer includes in the installation process time to set-up the proper URL redirects so that you don’t loose your current search engine rankings. Regardless, if a security certificate helps your rankings or not, it’s still a good idea to have one to ensure your site is secure and gives the impression to visitors that you’re keen on security.