Google updated their algorithm this past summer to negatively impact websites without an SSL certificate. For this reason, every website, not just e-commerce sites, need to add this security feature to their site.
Trust. It is the most important element in any personal or business relationship. In a world where we store, retrieve, and share our personal and financial information without face-to-face interaction, establishing trust can be complicated. SSL certificates make it simple.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. SSL certification ensures that all sensitive data relayed to and from a website is transferred over a secure network.
A valid SSL certificate changes the ‘http’ at the start of a site’s URL to ‘https’, where the added letter indicates ‘secure’. Secure websites are easily identified from a green padlock icon in the address bar.
SSL certificates have been around for two decades. Until recently, they were seen as essential only for banking and e-commerce websites that handled financial transactions. That changed earlier this year when Google announced that it would start to penalize any site that was not SSL-certified.
The industry to which you belong no longer matters; the absence of an SSL certificate will negatively influence your SEO rank and page visibility.
What caused this sudden shift?
Information is one of the hottest commodities in the world. It is also the most resilient, immune as it is to devaluation through economic downturns or political upheaval. On the surface, it might seem ironic that Google is clamping down. It is not; it is a cold business decision.
The move aims to circumvent the collection of information by its competitors. Through the default settings on all Google apps, users give Google access to critical personal information. It then sells that data on to companies that use targeted advertising and marketing.
By regulating the collection of data through websites, Google is squeezing the competition out of the lucrative personal information market.
Do You Need an SSL Certificate?
More strongly than ever before, the answer is an emphatic ‘yes!’
If online impressions contribute to your business health, a ranking downgrade or penalty from Google will affect your bottom line. Most companies will respond to Google’s policy change by obtaining certification. If you are among the stragglers, you are giving the responsive competition an edge.
With SSL, all information on your site is transferred over a secure network. This protects not just client data but all your own content, including login credentials and user information. There is no way to eliminate the threat of data theft but SSL is the first line of defense.
We stressed the importance of trust earlier and this is where SSL excels. The green padlock icon tells visitors to your site that you take security seriously. Google is doubling down on its move by having its Chrome browser now flag all websites without certification as unsafe.
Obtaining an SSL Certificate
Most companies that offer hosting services give you the option of bundling SSL certification. Web security companies have their own products, which are sometimes licensed to these hosting firms.
We strongly recommend that you obtain one for your business website. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.