For some time now, there has been chatter in the SEO world that SSL will soon become the standard for all websites. Now, this might not seem very important to you as a small business owner. But, eventually, it will be very important to every online communication with your customers and prospects.
Google has already started to display a glimpse of what is to come with SSL requirements. For now, you will see a small (i) icon to the left of a URL in Chrome. If you click on the little information icon, you will get a notice on sites without SSL that “Your connection to this site is not secure.” Eventually, that small non-intrusive icon will change to a red warning symbol. So, right now your customers and prospects may not see any reason not to trust your website, but someday soon they will.
This, in my professional opinion, is a good direction for the Internet. SSL is more than just an encrypted connection. It also confirms that you are on the website that you intended to visit. SSL certificated can be validated in several ways, but the most basic is that the website owner has verified website ownership with a certificate authority. With as many scam companies as there are that claim to be Microsoft or Google out there trying to trick you into buying virus protection software for ‘detected viruses’. We need this next step in Internet communications.
So What is SSL? Why is It Important?
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) works by encrypting the connection between a user’s device and your website. While, up until now, that has only been important for sites that collected private information or processed credit cards, the need for SSL is starting to reach non-e-commerce sites. People want to know that they are safe on the website that they are visiting and this is a way to ensure that safety. Legitimate business owners have no problem getting a certificate for their website. So, it just makes sense to weed out the non-legitimate ones with SSL.
SSL is also becoming much more accessible. So, because SSL is becoming so accessible, Google and other search engines are now giving preference to websites with SSL encryption. Soon, WordPress sites will also require SSL for full functionality.
WordPress Notice: https://wordpress.org/news/2016/12/moving-toward-ssl/
I could go on, but for those of you that want to delve further, here is a video specifically about SSL from google. It is from 2013, but still is good to explain what SSL is and how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ8EX61fFWQ
Don’t Panic and NO it is not Google Shaming for Non-SSL Websites!
These changes have been in the works for quite some time. They will also take a little time to take effect as business owners realize the importance of SSL for their websites. I don’t see this as Google shaming for non-https websites. I see it as a nudge in the right direction. If you have SSL, Google will rank you favorably and give you a nice green padlock. No SSL? Well, they are just going to let people know that your website is not secure. Your competitors with SSL will also rank higher than you in search results.
That’s it. It is a simple and eloquent way to make the Internet more secure. And let’s face it, Google has led the way in making the Internet a better place since … well… pretty much forever now (at least for Y-gen and beyond).
So for those of us in the X-gen and before, let’s take a look at what we need to remain competitive with our websites.
Difference in SSL Certificates
There are three main types of SSL certificates that can be used to protect your website and signal a higher level of trust with search engines. Any of them will be fine to get you that little green padlock, but some are better than others. Let’s take a look in simple terms:
Domain Validated Certificates (DV)
As the most basic of SSL certificates, this Domain Validated or DV certificate is just what it says. To get this certificate, you simply have to verify that you own the domain and have control of it. Pay the fee, get the certificate, and have it installed on your website.
Organization Validated Certificates (OV)
To get an Organization Validated or OV certificate, you have to take that extra step of validating that your business exists. This is a step-up in that it doesn’t just verify that you have a website, but that you are an actual business owner.
Extended Validation Certificates (EV)
An extended Validation Certificate or EV Certificate does three things. It verifies control of the domain verifies the legal existence of a business, and verified the physical existence of the business. This is the only certificate that will display your business name in green.
As the Internet world matures, businesses will move toward standardization of the EV certificate. For now, just getting on board with a DV certificate will get you your green padlock and better search engine rankings. If you can afford the time and money to get the EV, I recommend that you get it. I don’t see a reason that any search engine would rank a DV, OV, and EV the same. So, if you need that extra push on search engine ranking… get the EV and maintain it. It will be a while until your competition does.
If you have any questions about getting your website compliant or need some help getting it done, please feel free to contact us at SIMC Corp.