As part of optimization best practices,
Google considers SSL when ranking websites.
Beyond our own stuff, we’re also working to make the Internet safer more broadly. A big part of that is making sure that websites people access from Google are secure.
– from Google’s article “HTTPS as a ranking signal”
In addition to other authentic, recommended site optimization and content optimization best practices, Google considers whether or not your site secures the connection between you and your visitors with a valid SSL certificate.
If you’re ready to get secured now, skip the primer and click here for how to get help getting secured with SSL.
What it is, why it matters, and what to do
(and links official Google documentation referenced for this article)
What it is: SSL is the security protocol of the web. Standing for Secure Sockets Layer, SSL encrypts the connection between your website and your website’s visitors. In essence, SSL “scrambles the signal” between your site and your audience, protecting the connection between you from prying eyes. As a matter of fact, if you’ve ever shopped online, you’ve used it; it’s that little lock that appears next to any ecommerce site’s domain name up in the location bar of your browser. And it’s a requirement for any online shopping site.
Why it matters, in an optimization context: Adding this level of security to a site signals to Google, Bing, Yahoo – and everyone else – that you care about your business and value your audience enough to protect the connection that forms the basis of your online relationship with them. As it relates to optimization, adding an SSL certificate says, ‘We’ve established and maintain a safe haven for people who visit our site to explore and experience our content without fear of easy exploitation.’
Why it matters, in a broader business context: SSL protects the privacy of your site’s visitors and it protects your site’s content. Adding SSL encryption makes it that much more difficult for hackers to exploit an otherwise un-encrypted connection. More security means less potential downtime, lower risk of breach, and it’s also differentiator for you, as well, affording you another opportunity to share with your audience how much you care about your relationship with them. Kind of like what we’re doing now. It’s not a sales and marketing thing, it’s a thoughtful communication thing, part of the storycraft that makes you special.
So share the love. Maybe drop a line somewhere in your email newsletter, make a brief social media post (and multicast it with something like Buffer, one of my personal faves), and perhaps even in the footer of your site. I’d most definitely recommend adding a note about it in your site’s published online privacy page.
When sharing this information with your audience, consider something along these lines:
“We’ve secured our entire presence with SSL as an added layer of online protection for you, contributing to the protection of your privacy. Your connection with us and our content here now benefit from a level of security recommended by Google and other trusted online security experts.”
Trade-off? With everything worth doing, there is a cost associated with the benefit. Here’s biggest potential optimization cost: site speed. One of the many things considered in ranking websites is the speed of the site. Ironically, this new SSL consideration that Google takes in ranking sites is a technology that may negatively impacts site speed. That’s right: SSL slows down a website. But only a very little bit. So it’s not a huge detriment (unless it’s misconfigured) and Google does indeed consider this fact when ranking your site: ‘Does the site load a bit more slowly? Yes, and it’s for good reason: the site is taking a couple extra microseconds to secure the connection between it and its visitors.’ Will impatient, twitchy website visitors notice? Perhaps, but most likely not.
Recommendation: Get your site secured with SSL immediately. We sell quality SSL certificates, currently available (as of 06.14.2015) for $30 off , plus enjoy an additional 15% discount with this code: dwbsec2k15. Click here to get yours now. All of our Concierge Care Business Class Hosting customers receive free SSL certificate installation and configuration. Not a hosting customer? You may still qualify for free installation and configuration. Have questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916.538.1792 for a quick consultation.
Where I got the 411 for this article: Google
Google offers a wonderful treasure trove of information for webmasters. These two official Google blogs offer this info in language that’s much easier on the ol’ noggin than its in-depth technical documentation.
Note: Propellerhead not required.
Official Google Search Optimization documentation referenced for this article at Google Webmaster Central.
Official Google Security documentation referenced for this article at Google Online Security Blog