The importance of HTTPS and SSL Certificate

SEO Benefits

Up until late 2017, we probably would have suggested to not bother with SSL. But times have changed and now it’s a good idea for ALL businesses to secure their websites with HTTPS…  even if your website is not an eCommerce platform.

Let’s take a look at what exactly HTTPS is and how you go about implementing HTTPS on your website.

What Is HTTPS?

In a nutshell: If you see a small lock icon in your browser’s address bar, you’re visiting a secure site. This means that the data you send or receive from this site is encrypted or protected.

A non-secure site has its URL address starting with “http” while a secure site starts with “https” – “s” means “secure”. In the past, this was necessary if your site was an e-commerce platform with an online shopping cart and your customers’ credit card and personal data database. But now, even if your site is mostly informational, we recommend using HTTPS.

Main reasons why your website needs HTTPS

Maintain lead generation.

Starting in July 2018, the Google Chrome browser shows an “unsafe” error on any site that doesn’t use HTTPS protocol – whether or not you use forms. Therefore, if you use your site for lead generation and sales queries, you must use the HTTPS protocol so users do not hesitate and leave your site due to “unsafe” warnings.

Improve your search engine rankings.

Google has announced that HTTPS is a ranking factor in its search algorithm. Just do any kind of search on Google and you will find that all or almost all results from the first page start with an HTTPS URL. Google has also indicated that an HTTPS site can serve as a tie between two sites offering similar information.

All other sites already have HTTPS

Perhaps the most important reason for having an HTTPS certificate is the perception. We live in a world where hackers and data breaches are very frequent events and people are concerned about their privacy and online security. While your site is not collecting sensitive information, having an HTTPS site and users can see the small lock icon in their browser offers a sense of security that translates into trust in your business.

How to install HTTPS on your site?

There is good and bad news. The good news is that it is not too expensive or difficult to convert your site to HTTPS. The bad news is that pressing a single button is not enough.

There are 4 steps:

  • You will need to purchase a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. A “positive SSL” certificate (also known as Domain Validation SSL) is a sufficient option for most websites and can be obtained for a very affordable price. Contact us for more information.
  • The second step is to set up and install the SSL certificate on your web server. Of course you can do it yourself, but we don’t recommend that you try it. We offer SSL certificate installation and configuration service to our customers, let our professional team do it for you.
  • After you install your SSL certificate, you will need to check every page of your site for “mixed content” errors. A mixed content error occurs when a page references non-HTTPS elements, such as images or videos. Sometimes they are easy to check and fix, in other cases they are a little more complicated. As part of our SSL installation service, we can help you convert your site to HTTPS and remove all “mixed content” errors.
  • The last step is to notify Google that you have converted your site to HTTPS so that they can re-index it in your search database. Don’t wait for Google to crawl your site. Be proactive and notify Google through the Google Search Console and update settings in Google Analytics.

Note: One thing to keep in mind is the volatility in your search rankings after switching your site to HTTPS. Over a short period, some of your rankings may fall temporarily or disappear altogether. This is normal. However, once Google indexes your site again, your search rankings will return to previous or better levels.

And that’s it. Moving your site to HTTPS is not a difficult task if you know what to do. And for a relatively small investment, ROI can be significant.