What is an SSL Certificate and Why is it Important for SEO?

With so many acronyms in the world of the internet and digital marketing, you’re forgiven for not knowing what SSL is and why it’s important. Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell PPC apart from SSL, SEO, SEM, CPM, KPI, and CPA. With this in mind, allow us to explain everything you need to know about SSL.

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates are small data files that bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. If this has left you with a confused look, it simply means that it helps create a secure connection between a web browser and a web server. As you can imagine, this is important because it protects sensitive information, such as credit card details and personal details.

When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the “HTTPS” protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Essentially, it’s the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. When you have an SSL certificate installed on your website, visitors will know because the URL will change from “HTTPS” to “HTTPS.” What’s more, they will also see a small padlock in their address bar.

How Do You Get an SSL Certificate?

While many businesses see this as an unnecessary chore, it’s actually not that complicated or time-consuming. You can generate a CSR (Certificate Signing Request) on your server, and then purchase and install the certificate. After that, you just need to configure your server to use the new certificate.

These days, web hosting companies will often take care of the entire process for you. All you need to do is provide them with your CSR, and they’ll handle the rest. If you’re still confused, contact your chosen SEO agency and they will assist.

Benefits of an SSL Certificate

Why should you bother with this task? Primarily, it’s good for SEO. Google has stated that it will give preference to websites that use SSL certificates, and other search engines are likely to follow suit. Therefore, if you want your website to rank higher in search results, it’s a good idea to install an SSL certificate. Just because of this one simple step, you could put all your SEO time and resources to waste if you don’t have an SSL certificate.

Secondly, we need to go back even further because there’s a reason why Google values SSL certificates and that’s because they provide a better user experience. When people visit a website, they want to be confident that their information is safe. SSL certificates provide a layer of security that gives users the confidence they need to stay on your site. When they see the ‘HTTPS’ and padlock, they won’t think twice about providing personal information. Without the extra letter and the padlock, prospective customers are likely to leave your site and find one that gives them the peace of mind they’re looking for.

So not only does having an SSL certificate improve user experience, but it also helps improve your SEO. Google loves secure sites and they’re more likely to rank them higher in search results. If you’re not sure if your site has an SSL certificate, just do a quick search and look for the two features we’ve mentioned.

Without an SSL certificate, your SEO is hit in two directions; one from Google directly punishing your website and another indirectly as visitors leave your website and go elsewhere instead.

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