Google has recently released an algorithm update that not only displays the warning that unsecured sites are “Not Secure” but are penalizing the ranking of websites that do not possess an SSL Certificate. Continue reading this guide on why your site needs this and the benefits you will reap from the integration of an SSL Certificate.
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL Certificate is a type of security-based technology that enables the communication between a server and a web browser to be encrypted. This encryption aids in reducing the chance for sensitive information from being illegally accessed by those that do not have permission to that information, such as identity thieves.
Examples of the information protected with an SSL Certificate includes names, email addresses, home addresses, bank account information, credit card numbers, usernames, and passwords.
In simple terms, an SSL Certificate allows the virtual-based conversation between an internet user and a website to remain secure and private. It aids in authenticating the real identity associated with a website and encrypts all of the data transmitted to and from that website.
If you are a website owner, it is imperative that you protect your site and your visitors with an SSL Certificate.
Google Now Places a Special Emphasis on HTTPS
The Google Update, which was released in July of 2018, now places a special emphasis on websites and encourages the use of SSL Certificates to transition those websites from “HTTP” to “HTTPS”. “HTTPS” stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure”.
This is a type of communication protocol that is used on the internet that helps in protecting the information that is transmitted between an internet-accessible device and a site.
When a website is using HTTPS, it has three layers of protection that is made possible by Transport Layer Security (TLS). These layers include the following:
- Data Integrity
Why SSL Certificates Are Necessary
As stated previously, SSL Certificates protect sensitive information from getting into the hands of those that would attempt to use that information in an illegal way. In addition to protecting your website and those that visit your website, an SSL Certificate also helps in the following ways:
- It ensures that the information exchanged between servers is kept highly secure.
- It builds trust with your website visitors/customers and enhances that trust.
- It helps in optimizing your website’s conversion rates.
- It helps in increasing your rankings with Google.
Google Chrome Changes with Update
Prior to July 2018, when you visited a website that did not possess SSL Certificates and was not considered to be “secure”, there was a relatively discrete exclamation point that was immediately to the left of the address of the website.
On the most part, internet users did not notice this; however, if they did click or hover on it, it would inform them that the connection to the website was not a secure one. It would further instruct them not to enter any type of sensitive information on the website.
Since the release of the Google Update, the exclamation mark has not transitioned into the mark and the words, “Not secure”. In the future, “Not secure” will be written in red to draw even more attention to it for website visitors.
Will Website Visitors Know There is an SSL Certificate in Place?
If you transition your website from “HTTP” to “HTTPS” through the use of an SSL Certificate, your visitor will know as there are several different visual-based clues to this. First, a padlock picture will show up to the immediately left of the website address instead of the exclamation mark and the phrase, “Not secure”. Next, the prefix associated with the website address will go from “HTTP” to “HTTPS”.
There will be a trust seal integrated into the website. Furthermore, the address bar will typically display a green coloring, which, generally means “safe” or “go” when it comes to website exploration in the digital world.
What If I Don’t Sell Anything on My Website?
Many people do not sell anything on their website. They may be an affiliate of another website where they direct customers or they may simply have a content-based website. Regardless, your website needs an SSL Certificate. In addition to being listed and ranked higher by Google, the necessity for SSL Certificates is high for websites that engage in the following:
- If the website utilizes usernames and passwords
- If the site provides the opportunity for users to enter in financial information
- If the site requests personal information
- There are legal documents associated with the site
- If the site obtains email addresses and/or names
- If it includes records
- If is includes proprietary information