Google Ranking: Why SSL is Good For SEO

by Admin

Your connection is not private. Have you ever faced this error? If a significant part of your day is spent browsing the internet or you are a technical user, you might be aware of this error caused by an absence of SSL or incorrectly configured SSL. Sometimes, you enter the website via advanced settings; other times, your entry is denied.

In a recent survey by Pew Research, it was found that 68% of internet users believe that more than the current protection measures on the internet are needed for the security and privacy of their data. As a result, Google, one of the major search engines, has started rewarding websites with added protection and higher SERP rankings.

Therefore, an SSL certificate has become a must for websites and those who want to rank higher in search engine results pages. However, some SEOs and technical users are also confused about whether SSL is good for SEO or if it’s just a myth.

Let’s take a deep dive into this write-up to determine what SSL is and whether SSL certificates contribute to good overall rankings.

Boosting SEO Performance: The Crucial Role of SSL Certificates

Discover how implementing SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) on your website not only enhances security but also boosts your SEO rankings. Ensure your online presence is both safe and search engine-friendly.

What is SSL and Its Types?

What is SSL and Its Types?

SSL is an abbreviation for Secure Sockets Layer. To put it simply, this certificate demonstrates an additional layer of safety that effectively protects your data as well as the information you choose to share with the website.

According to SSL.com, SSL and its successor, TLS, are protocols that are used to establish authenticated and encrypted links between networked computers. Although the SSL protocol was deprecated with the release of TLS 1.0, it is still common to refer to these technologies as “SSL/TLS”. There are three types of SSL certificates available for websites, which include the following: –

  • Single Domain SSL Certificates: A single domain SSL certificate will protect only the domain it is issued for and it cannot be used to authenticate other domains, not even subdomains. 
  • Wildcard SSL Certificates: A wildcard certificate protects the domain it is issued for and all the subdomains. In general, subdomains have an address beginning with something other than www.
  • Multi-Domain SSL Certificates: With a multi-domain SSL certificate, you can protect various domains at the same time. It means that all your domains can share the same SSL certificate. However, this type of domain is considered expensive compared to others.
  • Domain Validated (DV) Certificates: These SSL certificates are the simplest and most straightforward to obtain. They are also the most common. Only domain ownership is verified by DV certificates, which only offer a minimal level of encryption. They are appropriate for blogs and individual websites.
  • Organisation Validated (OV) Certificates: OV certificates verify the organisation that controls the domain as well as certain information about that organisation. Verifying the company’s name and location is part of this. Businesses frequently employ OV certificates because they offer a higher level of confidence than DV certificates.
  • Extended Validation (EV): EV certificates provide the highest level of security and trust. They entail a thorough validation procedure that involves confirming the organisation’s ownership of the domain as well as its physical and legal presence. Most browsers show a green address bar on websites with EV certificates, signifying a very high level of security and reliability.
  • Unified Communications Certificates (UCC): UCC certificates enable many domain names, including public and private domains, to be secured under a single certificate. They are developed for Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office Communication Servers.
  • Self-Signed Certificates: These certificates are created by the website’s owner directly; a reputable third-party CA did not issue them. Although they can provide encryption, they are not advised for websites that are intended for the general public since they do not create the same level of trust as certificates issued by reputable CAs.
  • Code Signing Certificates: These certificates are used by software developers to sign their code digitally, ensuring that it hasn’t been tampered with and can be trusted by users. It is quite beneficial in terms of protecting websites from hacking attacks.
“Over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.” – Google announcement

Free VS Paid SSL Certificates

Free-VS-Paid-SSL-Certificates

One of the most common reasons many website owners are not investing in SSL is due to its cost. So, how can we leave this important topic undiscussed? There are two types of SSL available for websites; free and paid. Which SSL should you invest in and how can you determine which is the best? Here’s how you can do it!

Some popular web hosting services, including Cloudflare, offer a free SSL certificate with their low-cost web hosting plans. A free certificate sounds great when you are working with a limited budget. This certificate will work similarly to a paid SSL certificate and demonstrate that your website is legitimately owned by the respective company or business.

While free SSL certificates are perfect for SEO, you cannot rely on them if you have an e-commerce website. For e-commerce stores, you must get a paid SSL certificate and obviously, a paid version of SSL offers higher security.

You can get a paid SSL certificate for your website from hosting providers like GoDaddy. To make an informed decision about what is best for you, research and compare the services of various SSL certificate providers and then decide. Impulsive decisions are always regretted by people!

Importance of SSL for Your Website

Importance of SSL for Your Website

A website without an SSL certificate today is like a shop without a door, which means visitors won’t be able to enter your website. As a result, all the efforts that you put into making your website rank in SERPs are in vain.

For instance, if a user comes to your website to buy your products or gather some information regarding a certain topic and your website doesn’t have an SSL, they won’t be able to enter your website. So, how are they supposed to obtain the required information when they can’t even access your website?

That’s why incorporating an SSL certificate into your website before you start putting efforts into making it rank is essential. As mentioned above, there are many types of SSL certificates available for websites, and you can choose one that suits your requirements perfectly.

How Does SSL Work?

How Does SSL Work

SSL functions by ensuring that the data transferred between users and websites remains safe and secure. It leverages encryption algorithms to scramble data in transit, which effectively prevents hackers from reading the data as it is sent over the connection. The data may contain sensitive information, including the name, address, credit card number, or other financial details of a user.

To understand the process easily, you can go through the below-listed points: –

  • A web browser tries to connect to an SSL-secured website.
  • The web browser assumes that the web server identifies itself.
  • A copy of the SSL certificate is sent by the web server in response.
  • The browser checks to see whether it trusts the SSL and if it does, it indicates this to the web server.
  • After that, the web server returns a digitally signed acknowledgement to start an SSL-encrypted session.
  • The browser and the web server share the encrypted data.

The whole process is sometimes referred to as an SSL handshake, which may look lengthy, but it’s a matter of milliseconds.

Connection Between HTTPS and Google Rankings

Connection Between HTTPS and Google Rankings

According to the research of SEO experts, Google prioritises websites with HTTPS encryption over others. Google has been doing this since 2014 and those who have been in this field for a long time might be aware of this fact. Not only does Google push the search rankings of SSL-encrypted websites, but HTTPS is also responsible for affecting other SEO aspects that may include the user experience, site speed, and trust.

Since HTTPS can improve the site speed of a website, it will lead to a decrease in the bounce rate, resulting in quality traffic and a higher dwell time. So, has your website got an SSL certificate? If not, get one now and see fantastic results and improvements in search rankings!

Advantages of Shifting to HTTPS from an SEO Perspective

SEO

Though no one can exactly know how to make a website rank higher in search engine results page rankings, SSL is considered one of the most important aspects of higher search rankings. Google has safeguarded the secrets of higher rankings pretty carefully; SEO is completely experimental!

However, it has been seen that websites using SSL usually rank higher and Google prioritises them. Hence, you should not jump into the realm of digital marketing or SEO without a stunning website and an SSL certificate. If you need more information to believe this fact, here are a few statistics regarding the same: –

  • Moz’s search ranking study shows a 0.04 correlation for HTTPS.
  • 95% of all websites on Google use HTTPS and 99% of browsing time on Google Chrome browser is on HTTPS websites.
  • According to SEMRush’s ranking factors research, HTTPS is one of the 10 most crucial factors for search results page rankings.
  • The purchase of HTTPS has been increasing rapidly and in 2017, the use of SSL increased by 23%, while in 2018, it showed an increase of 27%.
  • 92.2% of the top 1 million websites used HTTPS in 2022, while in 2016, only 54.7% of the top 1 million websites had HTTPS, which shows a significant inclination towards a safe and secure website.

HTTPS Means Higher Search Rankings!

HTTPS Means Higher Search Rankings!

From the above facts, it is apparent that your website’s SEO will greatly benefit from the installation of SSL/TLS. There are higher chances of good search rankings after incorporating an SSL certificate from a reliable provider, such as SSL.com. You can stay ahead of the curve by using the appropriate SSL certificate and obtaining higher search rankings if your competitors do not have SSL on their websites. 

Higher search engine rankings and security are the reasons why 50% of businesses are investing in SSL certificates. A safe and secure website is what all the users need on the internet and if you are able to provide them with the same, you will surely get marvellous perks!

However, buying and incorporating an SSL certificate on your website could be daunting for the first time, especially if you are a non-technical user and even a webmaster faces problems doing the technical stuff. We will share the best practices for switching to HTTPS in the next section.

Best Practises for Switching to HTTPS

Best Practises for Switching to HTTPS

We know that HTTP to HTTPS migration could be intimidating but nothing is worth worrying about as we are here to help you out and navigate you through the process. To install an SSL certificate successfully on your website, you can follow the below-listed steps: –

  • First, you have to buy an SSL certificate. You can purchase an SSL certificate through your hosting provider.
  • Once you have bought an SSL certificate, your web host will install and activate the certificate and make sure it functions properly.
  • After installing an SSL certificate, you have to ensure that all the internal links point to HTTPS. You can use a site crawl tool to ensure all internal links are pointing to HTTPS. Otherwise, you have to face penalties, which may also lead to confusion among the users.
  • Remember to set up 301 redirects on your website after installing the SSL certificate, as it will help with better indexing under the new protocol.

Most Common HTTPS and SSL SEO Issues

Most Common HTTPS and SSL SEO Issues

It’s not uncommon to face problems while implementing HTTPS and SSL on a website. You can detect the issues using manual testing and other tools. Start by checking if the website’s URL starts with “https://” rather than “http://,” which indicates that it does not use SSL/TLS encryption. Additionally, you may view the SSL certificate by clicking on the padlock icon in the address bar of your browser to check for legitimacy and reliability. Comprehensive analyses of SSL/TLS issues are provided by online tools like SSL Labs and Qualys SSL Server Test. Watch out for browser alerts and mixed content issues as well, as these could point to security flaws. Watch out for certificate expiration dates, keep up with best practises, and think about consulting specialists if you’re unclear about how to handle SSL/TLS issues successfully.

Some of the most common issues that you may encounter while incorporating HTTPS and SSL on your website are as follows: –

S. No SSL SEO Issue What’s It? How to Fix?
1. Mixed Content When a secure page contains the elements of an insecure page like images, stylesheets, etc. Update URLs for insecure elements to HTTPS.
2. Redirects Failing to redirect website pages to HTTPS. Use a 301 redirect for HTTP URLs
3. Internal Links HTTP to HTTPS migration may cause broken or incorrect internal links Replace HTTP links with HTTPS counterparts. Ensure newly added content contains HTTPS links by default.
4. Canonicalization Implementation of SSL can lead to incorrect canonical tags Update sitemaps to include only HTTPS URLs.
Set up your CMS to use HTTPS URLs for canonical tags automatically.
5. Expired SSL It happens when your SSL certificate expires and your website is marked as not secure to browse Renew your SSL certificate to get rid of this error ASAP.

Does an SSL Certificate Expire?

Does an SSL Certificate Expire?

YES. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates do expire.  These are not permanent and are required to be renewed periodically in order to maintain security and safety. An SSL certificate is normally issued to a website for one to two years; however, the duration of the certificate also depends on the authorities.

If your SSL expires, your website will no longer have a secure connection, and your potential customers may see a warning that the connection to the website is not secure.  Therefore, you should renew your SSL certificate as soon as it expires or you can also apply for the renewal even before it expires in order to ensure continued safety.

Final Verdict

An SSL certificate provides an extra layer of security and is considered a ranking factor by Google. You can use a free certificate if you are low on budget; however, consider investing in a paid SSL if you have enough budget, as it provides greater security and safety. With the HTTPS protocol, you can ensure that your website ranks higher in search rankings, gains more traffic, and makes users feel safe while browsing your website or sharing data. If you have enough technical knowledge, you can set up the SSL on your own; however, consider hiring a webmaster in case you don’t.

Stay tuned for more such information!

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