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SSL and Your SEO: Security for Higher Rankings

February 9, 2021

SSL and your SEO Security for Higher Rankings

These days, that little lock next to the URL in your address bar has significance far beyond a secure credit card transaction. A valid SSL certificate on your website provides a level of trust between you and your website visitor, one that even search engines respect when considering ranking. Although Google announced the inclusion of a valid SSL certificate into search rankings a few years ago, there was a soft-launch time period where it was possible to ignore this SEO add-on. That’s not the case anymore. If you’re not secure today, you’ll be missing leads tomorrow.

an SSL warning on a phone, SSL is an SEO issue as well

Why do I Need It?

From the perspective of most current web browsers, a secure site is also a relatively safe site. In an age where website cookies are exploited, passwords are stolen, and whole identities are duplicated online for nefarious purposes, users are becoming more aware about security – and browsers are very interested in keeping up. It works in three steps:

  1. Most web browsers today will alert a user when they’re about to enter a website without a valid SSL certificate. This feature is another move in the never-ending battle to fight malware and malicious activity on the internet, because many developers see SSL-enabled websites as one of the foundational tools of internet security.
  2. When the average user sees that their browser is asking them to reconsider a visit to an insecure website, the natural inclination is to hit that back button and find another site.
  3. Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others see these bounces, and that raises  huge red flags. This results in them preemptively lowering your search ranking in anticipation of this kind of bounce – before anyone even gets to your site.

SSL certificates also help search engines identify that you are who you say you are, increasing relevance for organic placement and lowering your bid costs on paid search. Search engines make their money providing reliable results – so in weeding out the bad options, they’re also reducing visibility for those insecure sites. It’s to the point now that many users will not see an insecure site in their search results until they’ve exhausted the list of SSL enabled sites. That is to say, if your site isn’t in the first few pages of search results, there’s very little chance that it will be seen organically.

a security expert on their laptop

Security Also Looks Great for Your Site

When a user glances up and sees that closed padlock, there’s a feeling of confidence. Even better, their browser won’t actively advise them to leave the site as soon as possible. So, even if SEO isn’t a top priority in your marketing plan, presenting a professional image with a qualified SSL certificate should be. If your site’s not secure, you can reach out to us today and we’ll gladly share the options we see for helping your site get to the top of everyone’s list.

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