Alright small business owners, I’m not going to get really geeky here, but I want you to know about an important feature you should purchase and install on your domain name.
It’s called an “SSL certificate” and it transforms your website from being “unsecured” to “secure.”
How can you tell if you have one of these installed?
Well first off, look up in the browser next to your domain name. If your domain name is “https” and not just “http,” then you have an SSL certificate installed on your website.
Securing your website has become a best practice in web development, and Chrome, along with other browsers, are going to be rewarding SSL websites over unencrypted sites.
We’ll explain more, but if you’re looking for the solution to this problem, then you’ll want to contact your domain registrar company and purchase an SSL certificate. It’s often $20-1$00 a year, and some providers even include one with their WordPress hosting packages.
What is it?
When you type in a domain name, your browser asks for the IP address of the website from the domain registrar company. Basically, there’s a communication that happens between your browser, the registrar, and your website.
This communication, on a non-encrypted website, is made up of regular text that could be intercepted by malware, spyware, or other nasty stuff.
When you install an SSL certificate and convert your website from HTTP to HTTPS, you’re encrypting that communication.
The result is that the everything the user is doing on your website will have an additional layer of security, which is really important now that we do such important activities on websites.
Does an SSL Help SEO?
Back in 2014, Google made an announcement that SSL is a signal that it pays attention to. When you convert from HTTP to HTTPS, you’re not going to see a bump in the SERPs. In this sense, the results are likely to be minimal.
However, what you don’t want is for users to click away once they’ve entered your site. These days, security is an expectation that users have. They don’t want to feel like their data is at risk.
You might assume that most users would fail to notice the difference between “https” and “http” and until recently, you would have been correct. However, some internet browsers are starting to warn users when they’ve entered a site that’s not protected with HTTPS.
Of course, user experience as a whole is an extremely important factor in SEO. The worst thing that can happen after someone enters your site is what’s called “pogo-sticking”. If a user “pogo-sticks” your website, it means that they clicked onto it from a search engine results page and then clicked back to the results page.
This sends a signal to search engines – that your site did not satisfy the user’s expectations.
Your site could fail to meet a user’s expectations for a wide variety of reasons. However, the reason doesn’t really matter. Search engines only need to know that a user wasn’t satisfied. The why isn’t as important.
So even though having an SSL certificate doesn’t impact your position in search engine results, the impact that it could have on the overall user experience may.