SSL certificate and SEO are two subjects that have attracted lots of discussion among web administrators and digital marketers. But do SSL certificates have any impact on SEO? Which type of certificate is the best for your SEO needs? This article will give you a precise explanation that seeks to answer these questions. But first, let us look at the two concepts of SSL certificates and SEO separately.
What is an SSL Certificate?
One of the biggest challenges facing the internet is data breaches. According to the 2022 Thales Data Breach Threat Report, 52% of organizations worldwide have reported falling victim to data breaches. Indeed, data is a most-sought resource in the modern day and era that cybercriminals are willing to do anything to lay their hands on it.
To counter the many data breaches that occur, security experts have developed mechanisms that safeguard networks from attacks. One of the most impactful cybersecurity tools that help to mitigate the menace of data breaches we see today is the Secure Socket Layer certificate. Most know it with its abbreviation- SSL certificate. The term Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate could also be used in place of SSL.
An SSL certificate is a small cryptographic tool that creates an additional security layer that protects all sensitive data and information people share via websites. You might have noticed that whereas some websites have their URLs starting with HTTP, some start with HTTPS. What exactly is the difference? It would be easy to notice that the only difference between the two is the S at the end of HTTPS. The S stands for secure. It is the SSL certificate that gives a website HTTPS status. With SSL, all communications between your web servers and your users’ browsers will be encrypted. Encryption converts text data into ciphertext (an undecipherable format), which can only be deciphered once decrypted. To improve your web security, you will need to buy and install a new SSL certificate.
But why should a security protocol such as SSL certificates have anything to do with SEO? To answer this question, we should first understand what SEO means.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization refers to all the strategies, tools, and measures taken to increase the visibility of a website in search engines. The better the visibility of your website pages in search engines, the better you are positioned to attract prospects and leads to your website. According to BrightEdge research, 68% of online experiences start with search engine optimization. The 2021 HubSpot state of marketing report shows that SEO generates more traffic and leads than any other digital marketing strategy.
Search engines use hundreds of ranking factors to rank web pages in the SERPS. And this is where the SSL certificate comes into play. As it occurs, Google and other search engines use the SSL certificate as one of the factors when ranking websites.
How the SSL Certificate Affects SEO Rankings
SSL certificate Directly Impacts SEO Rankings
On 6th August 2014, Google announced that HTTPS would be used as one of its ranking factors. The announcement came as a big surprise to many within the Search Engine Marketing industry. But the move was to encourage website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS in the quest to make the internet a safe haven.
Weeks after Google made the announcement, several questions were posed relating to the same issue and how the algorithm would work. Google’s John Muller provided some excellent insights on how the algorithm would work. It then became clear that the algorithm would work at the URL level. As such, rather than having to crawl through the website in its entirety, the algorithm would consider the HTTPS factor. The algorithm would also run in real-time and operate independently. It means that users will see the benefits of HTTP to HTTPS migration almost immediately after making the migration.
In a nutshell, if you are trying to rank higher than your competitors in the search engine results pages, then you should consider switching to HTTPS. You get a share of low-hanging SEO fruits by buying and installing the SSL certificate.
SSL Certificate As A Tie-Breaker
To add more weight to the issue of SSL and SEO, Google further announced that the HTTPS factor would be used to break the tie in a situation where two or more websites had equaled in all the other ranking factors. So, if two or more websites had tied in rank, but one website has an SSL certificate installed, the website with the SSL certificate will outrank those without the certificate.
Ever since Google made these announcements, HTTPS websites have been dominating the top search engine results pages. You can experiment by searching anything on Google. You will notice that all the top pages in the SERPS have their URLs starting with HTTPS.
SSL Improves SEO By Improving User Experiences
The SSL certificate plays a very critical role in improving the user experience. Website users have become clever and learned how to differentiate safe from unsafe websites. If a website visitor lands on a website, the first thing they do is to check some of the visual indicators to confirm the security of a website. If the website visitor has any reason to doubt the security of the website, they will leave immediately.
The logic here is that websites that offer user experiences can never rank high in the SERPS. Google notices high bounce rates that occur as a result of security doubts by website visitors. If this is the case, Google will demote your website in its SERPs. And the website might even go further at the bottom of the SERPs due to the domino effects.
Proof of HTTPS Impact on Search Engine Optimization
According to an analysis of 1 Million websites conducted by SEMrush, Ahrefs, Brian Dean, MarketMuse, and SimilarWeb, it was discovered that there is a moderate correlation between HTTPS and high rankings in the Search engine results pages.
Which SSL Certificate is Best for SEO?
The primary purpose of SSL certificates is to ensure website security between website servers and web browsers. All websites, Domain Validated, Extended Validated, or Organization Validated, provide the same level of encryption and give websites the HTTPS status. To rank websites, Google looks at the HTTPS factor and not the type of SSL certificate that has initiated HTTPS. In a nutshell, all types of SSL certificates are good for SEO.
So, when you need an SSL certificate, you should look beyond the SEO factor. For instance, you might consider going for a low-priced Comodo SSL certificate or RapidSSL certificate to receive other benefits such as an Unlimited re-issuance policy and a 30-day refund policy, among others.
Cybersecurity and search engine optimization are two subjects that are very vital for every website. The SSL certificate is at the center of the two issues. Apart from enhancing web security through encryption, the certificate also helps with SEO visibility. This article has explained what an SSL certificate is, what SEO is, and why the certificate is essential in SEO.
Need Help with your Digital Marketing
Submit Your Info and We’ll Work Up a Custom Proposal