It’s a rare thing for Google to reveal any of its search ranking factors, which is why we really sat up and took notice last year when they revealed they would reward sites that used SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates by boosting their search results.
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that is used to encrypt sensitive information and authenticate a website’s identity. This level of encryption prevents information such as credit card details, addresses or passwords from being intercepted by anybody other than the intended recipient.
SSL certificates use HTTPS encryption; a protocol that protects the privacy and integrity of exchanged data between a user and the site they are visiting. In the same day that a key locks and unlocks a door, SSL certificates apply the same type of system to authenticate and protect confidential information.
Putting this type of security in place can be tricky, but the payoff is certainly worth it in terms of advanced security, enhanced referral data and a promised boost in rankings. There is also the issue of compliance to consider, but more on this in a moment.
In recent years, there has been a big debate over how important SSL certificates are, and whether they are a requirement on every website. Google has always had the end user experience in mind and by putting SSL certificates in place, webmasters can help to ensure this experience is as safe and secure as possible.
As we have already touched on, the main benefit of Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is to provide a secure connection between users and the page they are viewing or sharing personal data to. You will often see the https:// prefix when you visit secure shopping websites or when you are doing your online banking. HTTPS offers an additional layer of protection, essential when you are sharing credit card or personal address details.
In order to deploy HTTPS on your website, you’ll need an SSL certificate. This SSL certificate will be unique to your business and operates as a padlock between a browser (your users) and your web server (your website). You will also need to create a certificate signing request (CSR) on your server. This creates a private and public key pair that is used between endpoints (user and website) to validate and protect information in transit.
On 25th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. The new regulations will require personal and sensitive data to be encrypted both in transit and in storage. By installing SSL on your website, you will be on your way to GDPR compliance.
If you would like to find out more about installing SSL certificates on your website and discovering the search rankings and compliance benefits this level of security has to offer, get in touch with our team today. We can take care of the entire process for you.