Why Your Website Needs HTTPS/SSL in 2018
If Your Site Isn’t Fast and Secure, It Definitely Should Be!
Since 2014, Google has been rewarding more secure sites that have SSL installed with a small ranking boost. This fact is the #1 reason you should implement SSL on your website. Google favors websites that are more reliable, trustworthy, secure, and have certification. In order to give the best set of search results to it’s users, Google has clearly decided that HTTPS sites have a clear ranking advantage over traditional http websites. Google has even hinted that the future web will be fully secure. They stated that they will “continue working towards a web that’s secure by default.”
This has been a well known fact in the SEO community, but the transition of sites to HTTPS/SSL has been surprisingly slow. Why is this? Simply because the ranking boost is quite small and the implementation can be quite tricky and if performed incorrectly can have major negative effects to existing keyword rankings. That being said, transitioning a smaller business website is not overly difficult for somebody with experience performing this task.
I have noticed this trend changing dramatically changing in 2018. The competition for SEO is now becoming more difficult than ever. Space in the organic listings is shrinking everyday thanks to Google and the average cost per click rates are skyrocketing. Even a small ranking boost or edge should be taken advantage of if possible. Many SEO’s and small business owners have already or have plans to move over to the HTTPS protocol just to keep up with competition in heavily competitive markets and to gain a small advantage in less competitive markets.
A Real World Example To Show SSL’s Popularity in 2018
As an example, I performed a search for “California Car Accident Lawyer.” Just a few months ago, only a handful of the results from this search had implemented SSL security on their law firm website.
Here is a screenshot showing you the difficulty of this keyword. The search volume is quite low, but the phrase itself is very competitive. The cost per click is roughly $230. This means that if you were to run a Google Adwords advertisement for this paticular phrase, you will be paying close to $230 every-time someone visits your landing page. Needless to say, the top 10 results for this phrase are actively engaging in search engine optimization and are taking it very seriously. Now let’s see if any other the top results are using SSL/HTTPS now in 2018. Here is another screenshot of the top results at 10:54am on 5/15/2018 for “California car accident lawyer” using Firefox in Lansing, MI.
It’s no surprise to me that 7 out of the 9 top sites ranked for this difficult term have HTTPS/SSL installed. Multiple studies have shown that sites with SSL installed have a positive correlation to ranking higher in Google’s organic search engine listings. While 7/9 is a more extreme example, over 40% of Page 1 rankings in Google have HTTPS setup.
Labeling For HTTP/HTTPS on Browsers
Let’s be honest, trust and converstion is critical when performing an online marketing campaign. Most people don’t realize that browser labeling exists, but I argue it is the 2nd most important reason why you should switch to a more secure site. What do I mean by this? When you visit a website, there is a label just to the left of the URL bar in most major browsers. This section informs you if the website is secure or not secure. While many people might not notice this, it does create more trust with the end consumer when it reads secure. Here are a couple more screenshots showing you what I mean by browser labeling. Another important thing to consider is that Google Chrome will be adding a red triangle with a label of “not secure” for all pages that don’t have SSL installed. I know that I would rather have a Green Lock rather than a Red Warning when people are potentially buying products or services on my business website!
Keep Your Website More Secure and Customer Data Safe
There are a host of benefits for a website that is more secure besides search engine optimization. You no longer have to wory about the integrety of you website and it prevents hackers or intruders from tampering with communication between end users and the website itself. Many hackers or spammers attempt to inject malware or spyware onto the visitors computer and this helps protect both privacy and security. Most people are under the impression that only websites that handle sensitive information have a need for SSL, but that is simply not true. Every http request without SSL installed can potentially reveal private information or help in identity theft. There are also many levels of SSL certificates available and many of them actually offer warranties. This is especially helpful for e-commerce websites where the end user makes large purchase orders. This warranty is not for the you the purchaser of the certificate, but for the end users of your site making sure they don’t taken advantage of and it greatly increases the level of trust.
Secure Your Site With A Low Cost SSL Certificate
In 2018, there really is no reason to not have SSL installed on your website. It is one of the easiest ways to boost your rankings in 2018. Within a few hours you can have your certificate up and running. Just be careful doing it yourself if you are not comfortable with website design and search engine optimization. You could end up breaking the site or creating a large amount of duplicate content that will greatly hurt your search engine rankings. I’ve heard of some horror stories about small businesses losing all of their rankings, and there is certainly no reason for the loss except for incompetence. I’ve personally installed HTTP/SSL on over 2 dozen sites and have seen small increases in rankings across the board for all targeted search terms. Don’t delay any longer, make your website more secure and grab that extra boost in rankings! If you need help with the installation, feel free to contact us for a free consultation and we will be glad to help 🙂