Search engine optimization is a vast field in digital marketing that encapsulates many (and then some) factors that individually and combined can impact your standing in the SERPs. So naturally, we are now going to add another one to the list in order to give you as much of a chance as possible to rank higher in 2021 and the years to come. Because remember, some SEO trends may change, but having stellar security for your site is a ranking factor that Google will always prioritize. After all, customer experience and safety are paramount in the increasingly nefarious online world.
That’s why today we are talking about SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and its important role in your SEO score. If you want to take your digital marketing strategy forward in 2021, then you need to invest in security, and an SSL certification allows you to add an extra layer of security to safely handle sensitive customer information, which in Google’s eyes is very important. With that in mind, let’s go over SSL and its invariable effects on your ranking in the SERPs.
The trustworthiness of a website and a brand in the online world is defined by numerous factors, all of which Google carefully analyzes to create a website trust factor and thus help put your website in the relevant spot in the SERPs. Needless to say, if you have low or unreliable trust factor, you can’t expect to get far in the competitive online world, which is why investing in building trust and authority with your audience is paramount to success.
As the online customers are becoming more aware of the necessity for information safety and security, particularly as increasingly younger children are browsing the web, web browsers are becoming heavily focused on websites that have the right security certifications. The most basic and important of these is the SSL certification, which the browser uses to establish a secure connection so that no hackers can intercept information, gain access to sensitive data, or otherwise endanger the visitor.
The very fact that the site is secure with SSL is a strong indicator that it can be trusted, which raises its SEO relevance.
Security builds trust and authority in the industry, leading to higher customer engagement and a positive customer experience, all of which are important SEO factors nowadays. However, it’s not just about the feeling of security that the website visitor gets by knowing you have the right certification – it’s also about the message that your SSL certificate sends to the search engines and what it says of your brand.
A highly secure connection is the bare minimum for modern websites handling sensitive customer and industry data, and if the search engine cannot establish that the connection is secure, it will direct customers to other websites with more stringent security measures. What’s more, web browsers will promptly display pop-up pages stating that the connection is not secure and that it is not advised for the visitor to proceed. This not only alienates customers, but it also invariably reduces your SEO score.
SSL has been around for many years, and by modern standards we can safely deem it outdated and less than effective in dealing with proficient 21st century hackers and the cybersecurity risks present in the modern online world. As stated in this comprehensive guide on SSL and HTTPS for Google by one of the leading marketing agencies, Four Dots, SSL is a protocol that is nowadays being replaced by TLS (Transport Layer Security), which is an advanced cryptogenic protocol.
TLS is a modern solution to modern cybersecurity problems found on the web, and it is a system that boasts stronger encryption algorithms along with leading privacy and performance for websites handling sensitive consumer data. TLS is being widely used by web hosting companies around the world as well as content delivery networks (CDNs) to safeguard important information and at the same time improve ranking on Google and other search engines.
User experience is one of those broad terms that encompasses a myriad of factors, all of which tell Google whether or not your website is worthy of the first results page, or if it’s even worthy of being displayed to customers at all. Among the numerous UX factors you should be mindful of, security should be one of your top priorities.
Whether through SSL or TLS, you should provide stellar security to your website visitors and for Google to see in order to avoid driving people away – because a notification about poor website security directly impacts user experience and their decision-making process. Make no mistake, if the customer sees that there is no secure connection to your site, they are most likely to turn around and look for a more secure website.
Last but not least, don’t neglect the importance of SSL and TLS certifications for mobile apps. Whether you are in the process of developing a mobile app or if you already have an app that processes sensitive customer information, it’s important to ensure a secure connection between the app and the primary servers through SSL/TLS certification. The certification will invariably make your app more secure and help you market the product and position it high in the relevant search results.
There are many factors that ultimately define your position in the SERPs, and security is one of them. Use SSL or TLS certifications to boost your website’s security and help Google position you higher up the relevant search results.