Security on the web has always been important, but Google has introduced and is enforcing new factors for considering secure web pages over non-secure pages in their search results. The term for those factors has been coined as “ranking signals” or just “signals” in the context of SEO. There are a few different things to look at when evaluating whether or not your site is secure. We’re going to assume your website is based on WordPress because there’s a considerable possibility yours is, as WordPress powers a large portion of the web.
If you have a site builder platform like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace, security is more or less out of your hands, but some things still certainly do apply to you.
When we mention having a secure site, people often instantly respond something about how they don’t collect sensitive information like credit cards or other similar data. While that’s one factor that is eliminated in determining the importance of your site being secure, it’s not just extremely sensitive info that matters. Even just having simple pages that have contact forms which collect names and emails also needs to be secure, in Google’s eyes.
It absolutely makes sense if you stop and think about it, though. The main concern is that someone malicious would be able to intercept the communications between your website and that user, exposing their info in whatever form it’s being sent.
In more extreme cases, someone malicious might be able to modify the contents of your web page so that it sends spam, tracks the real user, or even redirects them off your site to their own destination. All of these are bad for user experience and of course contribute to the real user you care about no longer trusting your site and your business.
If you’ve been browsing the web and happened to notice the little green padlock near the website address, that means the site you’re visiting is secured by an SSL certificate, also know as HTTPS. The communication between you and the website you’re visiting is encrypted and is immensely more difficult to crack because it’s not being sent in plain text.
The good news is that SSL certificates are relatively inexpensive, often just $100/yr and are a ranking signal. Although just simply having an SSL certificate isn’t going to win you the #1 spot in Google, it does mean that if you and another site are competing and all other things are considered equal you will win the top spot because you have an SSL certificate installed and they don’t.
We all want to be #1 in Google, there’s no denying, but there’s more to the importance of an SSL certificate than just being high in the results. It can also impact your conversion rates on your website because users are significantly less likely to trust a non-secure site. SearchEngineLand and Google’s own Webmaster Blog did a survey in 2017 that showed 84% of the surveyed users would abandon a purchase or sign-up if the data was being sent over a non-secure connection.
If your website host charges you more than $100/yr or does not have the ability to install a free SSL certificate from a company like Let’sEncrypt, find a different host! It’s not that difficult and any decent web host will have these features.
All of our hosting plans are fast, secure, and include an SSL certificate for your website by default. If you have questions or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us! We’d love to help you get secure on the web. Security is one of our passions and a key focus point when we’re building our customer’s websites.
Please do not hesitate to call us at (850) 483-0124 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org