Do you remember the way medieval castles protected themselves? All of them had walls, and some had double walls and moats to make them even more impenetrable. There are some castles that were built on a cliff or within a mountain to make them hard to attack, but not everyone has geography going for them. The reason we are discussing castles is that the importance of SSL in search engine marketing is comparable. In medieval times, people would flock to castles that were safe. They wanted to be protected and live out their lives in peace. SSL fills a similar role by protecting websites and users against spam, viruses and malware attacks. This protection is the main reason that all websites need SSL protections these days.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online communication. Using SSL technology keeps all of this transmitted data encrypted between originator and receiver.
Everyone that uses the internet is familiar with at least some of the scams, attacks and malware that occur online. If you haven’t received an email from a Nigerian prince asking for a donation, then you have probably contracted a computer virus from an unfamiliar site. There are numerous ways that people try to steal from us online, and unfortunately, there is no way to stop them completely from creating unfriendly software to do so. The only real way to stop them is to block them from reaching us in the first place, and if they do reach us, then filter them out. That is what email filters do, separate the real emails from spam, but still some come through. And unfortunately, as software in general becomes more sophisticated, malware and other attack software does too.
Keeping your website secure a few years ago was simpler. You would just protect against spam users and some low-level viruses and malware. However, with the new sophistication of attack software, we need to do more to secure our websites. The SSL protocol is that new level of security. It protects you, your website and your users. It protects the transmission of data to and from the internet and your website.
Search engines have also become a lot more sophisticated over time. They can now understand content from context, tell if your site is mobile-friendly and whether you have an SSL Certificate. The search engines know how secure your website is, and if it has been attacked. In fact, if you are having trouble with malware or a virus and the search engine detects such when it scans your site, it will ding you in the search engine results. And that ding can last for quite some time.
It is important to keep your website as updated and healthy as possible to maintain a good rating on search engines. There are several search engines that you should be concerned with, but for the space of this article we are going to discuss Google, the largest search engine. You should keep in mind that other search engines have their own technology that you should be aware of, search engines such as Bing, YouTube, Pinterest, Yahoo, ASK, DuckDuckGo. However, let’s focus on Google.
Google continues to refine its ranking factors and how it determines the health of a website. Part of the algorithm is determined by UX, user experience, or how much users like a site. It makes sense that if a user likes a site, then other users would too. Google will rank sites higher by good UX, including security. And why wouldn’t a user be happier to use a site that is more secure? They would. Because they would feel confident knowing that using a secure site wouldn’t threaten their own security.
This situation is exactly where security comes into play with SEM. Your site with an SSL Certificate will rank higher than without one. You have probably noticed over the last two years that more and more site URLs start with https instead of http. Https is the indicator of an SSL Certificate. It’s easy to redirect traffic from the http URL to the new https URL. Some users never even notice.
Google notices and so do sponsors and vendors. They prefer more security, especially with the massive increase of mobile technology. Mobile technology leaves users even more vulnerable to hackers. SSL combats that vulnerability.
It is sort of like the old adage that “as much as things change, they stay the same.” Remember that we discussed how medieval people flocked to those safe castles? Well, the same can be said for safe websites. People want to keep their private information safe, so if you have an SSL Certificate, Google and ordinary users will rank you higher because they deem your website safe. To learn more about how to install the SSL protocol, contact us.