If you have a website or a blog, then you need traffic coming to your site in order to monetize it, and there are only two ways of doing this — SEO and paid traffic. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) focusses on exploring ways to drive free traffic from search engines, while paid traffic refers to online ads and promotions.
Since organic traffic amounts to over 90 percent of the total traffic on the internet, it is undoubtedly more effective. Also, it is a lot cheaper than the paid ads and promotional campaigns, which makes it one of the most preferred choices. As a result, online businesses tend to work harder towards ranking better in the search results. This is only possible by delivering superior user experience and doing what the SERPs expect you to do.
So, if you have a website, then you must start by upgrading your technologies and IT infrastructure. With cybercrime at its peak, SERPs expect more from websites when it comes to delivering superior user experience. This includes protecting the communication exchanged between the server and the client, which is only possible by installing an SSL certificate.
As the data exchanged through HTTP is in the plain text format, it remains vulnerable to cyberattacks. So, there is a sheer need to shield this exchange with an SSL Certificate. Also, installing an SSL certificate is a mandatory requirement under several cyber laws and regulations. Let us now understand why you should use an SSL certificate and how that can help boost your search engine rankings.
What is SSL Certificate and How does it work?
Security Socket Layer Certificates or the SSL Certificates make your website more secure by protecting the communication exchanged between the server and the client. By encrypting this communication, which is then decrypted through a secure private key, it ensures better privacy.
Typically, an SSL certificate encrypts the communication between the server hosting the website and the visitor’s browser, which sends out an HTTPS request. The HTTPS is a secure protocol that facilitates the exchange of data through encryption, only giving access to the parties concerned. This helps comply with the requirements set forth by the various data privacy laws and other laws that require the protection of personally identifiable details.
Since the HTTP protocol leads to an exchange of communication in plain text, it is no longer acceptable by browsers at present. This is largely due to the increase in e-commerce and online payments, which often requires additional security compliance. Also, the personally identifiable data of the user needs to be protected and therefore, to ensure this, most SERPs include SSL certificates as a ranking factor amongst hundreds of others.
What Do SERPs say about SSL Certificates?
Before we discuss SSL Certificates and how SERPs treat websites with SSL certificates, you need to understand the real intent of SERPs and what their algorithms try to achieve. According to sources, Google makes use of over 200 ranking factors to rank websites. This includes confirming originality, authority, popularity, user experience, and most importantly, the user’s security.
Search Engines like Google and Bing remain laser-focused on providing the most relevant, updated and secure results to the user. So, the algorithm is designed to do this by examining websites based on hundreds of ranking factors and pulling out the best results. That requires them to use several ranking factors in their search engine algorithm, classified based on priority.
Although none of the search engines disclose these ranking factors, Google has clearly indicated that its algorithm ranks websites with SSL certificates better than the rest. While Google is responsible for over 94 percent of the total online searches, it only makes sense to adopt this measure. Currently, using an SSL certificate is also a mandatory requirement under several laws and regulations such as GDPR and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
Also, since most browsers send out security warnings when users attempt connecting to websites without an SSL certificate, it is recommended that you install one. By doing that, you eliminate the possibility of losing the reader’s trust, which could repel most average users. However, as there are several types of SSL certificates, you need to choose one that’s most appropriate for your website.
For small businesses, we recommend the DV (domain validation) SSL certificates while the OV SSL certificates are most ideal for medium sized organizations. Also, it is important to get an SSL certificate from a reputed Certificate Authority (CA) and ensuring that it remains valid by periodically renewing it. If you wish the highest validation from CA, then EV certificate is the best certificate.
As mentioned above, SERPs make use of several ranking factors to rank websites in an order and no one knows them for sure. That’s because search engines do not want webmasters to manipulate their way up in the search results. Instead, they want the user to access the most relevant results. Therefore, search engine algorithms take several factors into account such as domain age, page load speed, SSL certificates, etc.… to confirm a website’s authenticity.
While some of these are known, most others remain a mystery and each search engine algorithm set its own parameters and priority levels for each of those parameters. As stated earlier, Google alone makes use of over 200 ranking factors that SEO Gurus try to interpret through trial and error. The only one that Google has openly disclosed is the use of an SSL certificate.