Website security has always been an important theme in the e-business and search engine optimization (SEO) world. However, in the last few years, the trend has grown significantly. Website security is now much more important than it ever was.
If you are new to learning things such as website security, HTTPS, SSL certificates, this is the right post for you.
In this blog post, we have compiled a few basic but very important things that beginners should know about SSL certificates and improving the security of their website.
1. Website security is going to be even more important in 2018
As we mentioned earlier, website security has always been important, but in the last few years, more and more online businesses seem to be focusing on it.
The reason is that online users are becoming more aware of how website safety works. They are also getting more serious about their online data, private information, and with whom they decide to share that personal info.
As the average online user continues to be more aware of website safety and the importance of online privacy, the need for safeguarding business websites become more evident.
Moreover, Google Chrome — the biggest internet browser in terms of market share — has big plans to show explicit warnings against unsafe websites. Google is planning to roll an update in 2018 which would make life very difficult for unsafe websites in the future.
2. SSL adds a layer of safety and encryption
You must have heard about SSL or SSL certificates. In case you don’t know what it means, SSL represents an additional layer of safety and encryption to your website.
When you install an SSL certificate, your website becomes more secure (because of that additional layer of security). Any information that users decide to share on your SSL-protected website will remain encrypted and, therefore, 100% secure.
For more information about SSL certificates, read a beginner’s guide to SSL and website security.
3. HTTP vs HTTPS
You may have seen many URLs starting with http://. On the other hand, you may have also seen many websites starting with https://.
Did you ever wonder about the difference between the two URLs?
An HTTP website is without an SSL certificate. In other words, it is a relatively unsafe website.
On the other hand, if a website starts with HTTPS, it means it already has an SSL certificate installed.
That extra ‘s’ in HTTPS represents the SSL certificate and the added level of encryption and security.
As you can guess, online users can easily spot whether or not a website has an SSL certificate — just by glancing at the URL of the website. Moreover, as we mentioned earlier, Google Chrome will soon start notifying people with warning messages if they visit an HTTP website.
4. There are multiple types of SSL certificates
There are five different types of SSL certificates. Depending on your needs, budget, and preferences, you can choose any one of them.
The different types are:
- Single-domain SSL certificate
- Multi-domain SSL certificate
- Wildcard SSL certificate
- Organization SSL certificate
- Enhanced SSL certificate
For most websites, online businesses, and bloggers, a single-domain SSL certificate is usually sufficient. However, if you have multiple subdomains, Wildcard or Multi-domain SSL certificates would be more appropriate options for you.
Generally, all the different types of SSL certificates offer more or less the same level of security.
If you want to learn more about the different types of SSL certificates and which one should you get, read our blog post: Understanding the different types of SSL certificates.
5. SSL certificates do affect search engine rankings
SEO professionals have somewhat debated about the real impact of SSL certificates on the search engine rankings of a website. However, as we have progressed, it is made clear that SSL certificates and improved website security do positively affect a website’s rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
In our experience, there are two ways SSL certificates affect a website’s rankings in the SERPs:
- When you migrate from HTTP to HTTPS, you get a slight boost in search engine rankings. It may not be a huge boost — there are still many other search engine ranking factors that contribute to your site’s overall success in the SERPs — but it’s a boost nevertheless.
- Google has confirmed that if there are two versions of a website, the HTTPS version will rank higher in the search engine results pages — provided all the other search engine ranking factors are also equal and do not change. In other words, if both websites are equal in terms of SEO power, the HTTPS one (with the SSL certificate) will outrank an HTTP website (without the SSL certificate).
- Second, after successfully migrating from HTTP to HTTPS, you improve the engagement rate, the average on-page time, and other relevant metrics that prove to Google that your website deserves to be on top. Eventually, Google rewards a good user experience and improves the rankings of your website.
Brian Dean from Backlinko conducted a detailed study and found a positive correlation between SSL certificates (HTTPS websites) and top search engine rankings.
For a more in-depth look, read how does an SSL certificate affect search engine rankings?
6. Migration from HTTP to HTTPS can be a complex process
Although on paper, it is a seemingly straightforward process to migrate your website from HTTP to HTTPS, it can still be complex and complicated for some people.
Considering the importance of secure websites and the immense potential of HTTPS and secure websites, you should migrate to HTTPS as soon as possible. However, before you actually do that, you must be fully prepared.
Otherwise, duplication issues, Google crawling errors, and different contents for HTTP and HTTPS website versions are some of the common problems that you may face.
If you are interested in learning more about migrating from HTTP to HTTPS, read our free guide: how to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS?
If you are serious about providing your website visitors the best user experience, and if you really want to dominate the top search engine positions in your niche, HTTPS is important.
We hope that this blog post would have helped you gain a better understanding of what HTTPS is and how you can move your site from HTTP to HTTPS. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.