If you are a regular Internet surfer, chances are you have noticed a lock icon next to the URLs of some websites. Perhaps, the prefix ‘HTTPS’ instead of the regular ‘HTTP’ with the names of some websites caught your attention? Both these indicators (along with the ‘Secured Website’ notation that appears in some browsers) indicate the presence of an SSL protection on the website.
SSL (Secured Sockets Layers)
As the name suggests, SSL is a security mechanism that enhances data safety on websites. The basic operational principal of SSL is based on encryption of data during transit from source to destination. Sensitive information like passwords, bank details etc. are encrypted when entered, transferred securely, and then unencrypted when it reaches the receiving server. It can be applied to both websites and emails.
Importance beyond Security
Many online business owners, especially those dealing with sensitive data like banks and ecommerce sites, have long embraced the SSL protocol. Website design companies also talk in favor of SSL certification as an industry standard for security.
Contrary to what you may believe, the importance of SSL is not just limited to security. It was always suspected to be a contributor in the SEO race, but the recent open recognition of SSL as a ranking parameter by Google has put all speculation to rest.
Google’s love for SSL
We all know that Google’s search engine algorithms work in mysterious ways. Although Google is fairly open about the main parameters responsible for good rankings, there are also some unacknowledged factors. A good website design, easy navigation, SSL etc. have always been believed to indirectly contribute to better SEO results. But now, Google has promoted SSL to the main list.
In August this year, Google made an announcement that they were ‘starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal’ for SEO. It’s important to note that, according to them, this signal carries ‘less weight’ and will only affect ‘fewer than 1% global queries.’ The conservative importance is understandable; but it’s definitely a sign of things to come.
SSL’s Future with SEO
The nod from Google, even though restrained, has caught the attention of business owners and website design companies alike. Everyone who has ever run an SEO campaign knows that every factor matters. In fact, in most cases, the smaller factors are the ones that give you an edge over competition. SSL is now very much a worthy step for its importance in SEO alone.
As to why Google called SSL a weak signal, there’s a reason for that. It knows that many websites are still operating without this security feature, and it wants to give them enough time to join the bandwagon before it starts penalizing this omission. Consider this as a warning bell by Google.
Suggestion For You
If your website is already SSL protected, your job is half done. We say half done because Google has published a list of to-dos for proper SSL usage. So make sure your website design implementation is in sync.
On the other hand, if you are among those fence-sitters, then NOW is the time to add the SSL layer to your website design. It will give you the critical SEO edge. Besides, extra security is always welcome, isn’t it?
At Convergent1, we make certain that any website we design is optimized for search engines like Google. We stay on top of the trends and changes in search engine algorithms to give your business everything it needs for successful internet presence and SEO. Contact C1 today!