We have been advised by our SEO consultant to implement a security certificate on our website.
“Why is that?” we ask, as we thought it was only relevant for websites that were taking online payments and the like. The security certificate, in basic terms, means that the HTTP will become HTTPS and there will be a padlock icon by the side of your URL.
HTTPS basically takes the well-known HTTP protocol and encases it in an encryption layer (Secure Sockets Layer). The website still uses the HTTP protocol but over a secure SSL connection that ensures that all the requests and responses are encrypted. The main purpose of the SSL layer is to verify that you are talking to the server that you think you are talking to and to ensure that if any data is intercepted it will be encrypted and not be readable to a third party. The additional encryption adds an extra step in the initial connection so therefore can impact on the performance on the website but only by milliseconds so nothing to be concerned about.
The idea of being secure and implementing a security certificate on your website is a good one and many leading businesses implemented security certificates a long time ago. Now, however, Google is stating that it is a factor in their search rankings i.e. Google will favour sites that are HTTPS over those which are HTTP and it is therefore likely to become more important in the future.
It seems that Google is forcing our hand: With cyber security being a hot topic and at the forefront of people’s mind a symbol associated with your website on Google stating that a website may not be secure will invariably stop a potential customer from clicking on the link. Imagine the implications on sales.
Furthermore, many new browser features and most progressive web apps require https to perform properly so this is another factor that will encourage website owners to implement the security certificate. In fact, it could be only a matter of time before you have little choice in the matter.
Even though Google has upped the ante and is strongly encouraging websites to have a security certificate in place does that mean that your website is more secure? Yes, it does but nothing can offer 100% security and we could be lulled into a false sense of security thinking that putting a security certificate onto our website will cover us from all cyber threats.
So, to conclude, by adding a security certificate to your website, it will give you an extra boost in your Google rankings, plus visitors will be more trusting of your website and confident in its ability to provide a safe browsing experience. The SSL layer could impact very slightly on the speed of your website but will give you the peace of mind that if a hacker were to intercept your data it would be encrypted and useless to them. Click here to hear what our SEO consultant has to say on the matter.