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Does Not Having an SSL Impact Your SEO?

by Geek Insider

Cybersecurity has been a hot topic these days. And why not? Studies show that cybercrime could lead to a cost of US$ 6 trillion globally by 2021. Data breaches have been a critical issue that has been faced by businesses. It could lead to severe conditions, like loss of customer trust, hefty penalties by government agencies, and lawsuits. So, what is the answer? Businesses must have a robust IT security policy in place, which would include installing an SSL certificate like Multi Domain SSL.

 SSL certificate helps in establishing a secure connection between the browser of the visitor and the webserver of the website. The communication will be encrypted with a public-private key combination, and it will be impossible for any third party to gain access to this combination. The Certification Authority provides the certificate only after proper validation of the website and its owner.

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(Source: https://www.quora.com/Does-SSL-have-any-impact-on-search-engine-ranking) 

Search engines prefer them.

You must be aware that search engines have several ranking factors that they utilize to rank websites during a keyword search. Search engines like Google have long advocated for a safe internet, and it is one of the reasons they have included the installation of an SSL certificate as one of the factors for SEO. While Google themselves do not discuss the ranking factors, they had an update in 2014 that allowed the websites with a 2048-bit key using an SSL certificate to benefit during ranking.

It will not absolve the SEO experts from other activities like using keyword-optimized content, on-page optimization, social bookmarking, etc. However, it will allow the HTTPS website to have an advantage over non-HTTPS ones when all other factors are the same. It is over and above the benefit of having a secure website and preventing hacking. Here is an example to show how an entity improved its  search ranking after moving to HTTPS.

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(Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/does-a-ssl-certificate-affect-your-seo-a-data-driven-answer) 

You prefer your website to be marked as Secure.

If you are an SEO genius, you would know that increasing traffic would lead to a flattering rise in keyword rankings. So, you would prefer to have more visitors to your website. A positive response would ensure you can communicate more with your audience, apart from improvement in search rankings. Web browsers like Google had always preferred a safe internet.

Google had launched Chrome 68 in July 2018 and had started marking all insecure HTTP websites as “Not Secure.” There would be a warning in the address bar that the website was not secure, and the SSL certificate was absent. It would make visitors move away from the site as it would be unsafe for them to visit the site as it was not using the encryption that is usually advised.

More visitors lead to better search rankings.

As an SEO expert, you must be aware that an increased number of visitors can enhance your search rankings. On the other hand, increased bounce rates can also ruin your SEO. It must be noted that an unsafe site would be a roadblock for your visitors, and if they see the “Not Secure” sign on the address bar, they will abandon your website right away. And possibly move to your competition and never to return!

It becomes necessary to have a responsive website that provides all the information your audience will be searching for. So, apart from showing off the certificate, you must also have a proper workflow through the site that will take the visitor on the buyer’s journey and ultimately culminate in a sale. While an insecure site is bound to drive away visitors, you must also have a site that ensures a better user experience.

Avoid mixed content

 While having an SSL certificate can improve your SEO, here is a flip side as well. You must always ensure that the certificate has been installed correctly. Else it can come back to bite you. There are several technical aspects that you must consider when you are migrating to the HTTPS platform. During the installation, you must ensure that all the assets, including the javascript, images, CSS, etc., are all transferred to the HTTPS platform. 

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(Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/443032/what-is-mixed-content-and-why-is-chrome-blocking-it) 

In case there are a few assets that have not been transferred to the HTTPS platform, your website will still be marked as not entirely secure, and the website would have mixed content. It would lead to the same trust issues for your site and continue to be labeled as insecure. There could be few assets that could be harmful to the visitors to the site, hence this warning. You can check the assets that have this problem and use various plug-ins to solve this issue.

Ensure you do not have faulty redirects

We usually have internal cross-linking to improve link juice and visit related articles on the site. However, it becomes a problem when the site is moved to the HTTPS platform. What happens is that the transfer is not done correctly, and 301 redirects are not used. If they are used, they are done sparingly. Once the SSL certificate is installed, the browser will typically select the secure versions. However, if the browser detects any mixed content, it will toggle between the two versions. As a result, there could be mixed content warnings about the site. It will, in turn, lead to tanked search rankings.

Which certificates can you use?

Now, it becomes imperative to know which SSL certificates you can use to prevent such a scenario. You may install any product from the renowned Certification Authorities (CA) that will suit your requirements. If you shift to the HTTPS platform, the visitors will view your website as secure, and a CA has validated that. There are several such renowned CAs from whom you can select the certificate of your choice. 

Conclusion

The number of cyber frauds has been increasing over the years. Internet users are also being more vigilant and refuse to visit insecure sites. Businesses must also keep in mind that they may be giving away crucial SEO brownie points by failing to move to a more secure HTTPS platform.

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