If you have a WordPress site, chances are, you might have heard about the Google SSL certificate by now. There is also a higher chance that you have come across alert messages on your site, indicating that the page is not secure. Better yet, it may have been one of your users who reached out to you complaining that your website was not secure.
So what is SSL, and why is Google prompting all its users to install an SSL certificate?
In our guide today, we will take you through all the fundamental aspects of SSL and why, as a WordPress manager, you need to have this certificate in place.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, an HTTPS protocol, and globally trusted initiative, which secures the connection between web users and your server. It’s usually involved in online authentications, transactions, and verifications.
As a website owner, the most basic aspect of your site should be geared to ensuring that all the security measures are in place to protect your users and enhance data encryption.
Techies might add that SSL is a security protocol, which describes how algorithms should be used, subsequently defining the variables of encryption for the links and data being transmitted online.
Why Should I Consider SSL For My WordPress Website?
Do users need log-in access to access your site? Does your site handle sensitive user data such as security numbers and credit cards? You definitely need to install a Google SSL certificate.
It’s interesting to note that over 68% internet users believe that the existing laws set for protecting their rights are simply not good enough.
In a bid to fully secure the site, Matt Mullenweg, the WordPress founder, revealed that plans were undergoing to ensure that every site owner had SSL certification on their site for the following reasons:
Encrypted Communication and Data
Having a Google SSL certificate protects your site from third party access and also ensures that the link created between your server and the web users is fully encrypted. You do not have to worry about hackers getting access to your server or stealing your data. In the event that they manage to intercept your data, they will not have the private key to decrypt it.
It also gives you more user credibility, as people are more comfortable when browsing on secure sites. Moreover, you do not want to be flagged as an unsecured site.
Google announced that as from January 2017, Chrome can now flag unencrypted sites. This will definitely affect your site use, as users are concerned about online security and their privacy more than ever before.
Users will also see a green icon on Firefox and chrome, to signify that your site is secure, which ultimately adds great value to your site.
What Is The Impact of Google SSL Certificate on SEO?
Website security is one of those crucial factors that can largely affect your site rankings. It’s evident that SSL has a positive impact on SEO, in the following ways:
Google is now using SSL as a ranking signal in their search results, which means that having an SSL certificate will definitely improve your website’s SEO. To further cement their online security campaign, Google has allowed search engines to crawl HTTPS pages by default.
And it gets more interesting! If there is a tie in search engine results between two websites, given that all other factors are equal, SSL will be used as a tiebreaker. This means that sites with certification gain a more competitive edge in SEO.
Google confirmed that based on initial tests carried out, SSL showed positive results in terms of a site’s relevancy and ranking in their search results. This is a major boost from 2014 when the certification was said to have only a lightweight impact on SEO rankings.
While there are other factors that can help improve your site rankings, such as using WordPress plugins and themes to enhance your content to boosts SEO, installing a Google SSL certificate is one sure way of achieving this goal.
You can decide to install the best WordPress plugins to help with SEO but as long as your site is not secure, visitor numbers will keep going down.
Better ranking means having more traffic on your site. When looking at search results, sites which are ranked higher appear first. Having an SSL certificate means your site is secure, and visitors will view this as a signal of trust and authority. Hence, increasing your traffic calls for installing an SSL certificate.
High Conversion Rate
Since users trust secure connections more, they are more likely to click on your website and register, even purchasing any products you might have. This is a major boost, especially if you are using WordPress as one of the digital marketing techniques, to sell your products.
With SSL, the security data of your website is saved. Basically, this means that any referral sources on your WordPress won’t just appear as direct traffic.
Did you know that about 1.9% of the top 1 million websites redirect their users to a default SSL version? This definitely gives SSL an edge when it comes to SEO.
Security and Privacy
SSL enhances security for your website and helps you achieve your SEO goals in various ways. It prevents third-party access, which makes your site more secure for all visitors. By encrypting all communication in your server, including the URLs, SSL protects your users’ information such as credit card numbers and passwords.
As a WordPress owner, it is in your best interest to implement security measures, specifically the SSL certificate, if you want to retain your search position and provide your site users with the best possible experience.
How Do I Get An SSL Certification For My Website?
Google has set pretty basic standards when it comes to acquiring an SSL certificate for your WordPress site. You only need to purchase the SSL certificate and you are good to go.
You must be wondering how you will go about this.
To begin with, there are various certified WordPress hosting providers, such as Siteground, who offer free SSL certificates along with their plans. If you are lucky enough to use some of these providers, you may just get one year absolutely free SSL certificate.
For those WordPress hosting providers who do not offer such packages, you can inquire if they sell third-party SSL certificates. This will cost you about $50 to $200. Another alternative would be buying the certificate from other providers; ensure they are trusted certificate authorities.
Once you have your SSL certification, ask your web hosting provider to install it on your WordPress server, confirm with Google and you are all set.
There are a number of reasons why you should consider installing a Google SSL certificate for your WordPress website, but none beats the fact that Google says all sites need to be secure. Getting certified will not only get your site a boost in SEO rankings, but you will also have a secure site, which users can trust.
Have you recently installed SSL on your WordPress? How is this working for you? Feel free to leave your thoughts and inquiries in the comment section below.