How SSL Certificate affects SEO and Google Rankings. SSL Certificates are double-edged swords! They can either ruin (if not installed) or fix your Google and SEO rankings. Read on to see when they can negatively or positively impact your SEO, and how to get the most from them.
To understand better how SSL Certificates, affect Google and SEO rankings, it’s prudent that we first touch on the major SSL Certificates basics. Find out below.
What Are SSL Certificates, and How Do They Help with Google and SEO Ranking?
Also known as Secure Sockets Layer certificates, these are small data files designed to help in binding the cryptographic keys to individual sensitive information. When you install the certificates on your web server, they work by activating the HyperText Transfer Security Protocols (HTTPS) padlock function to bar intruders and ensure secure web servers to browsers connection.
The primary focus of the SSL certificates is to ensure that your web visitors’ integrity, confidentiality, and authenticity are always protected. Since being introduced in the 1990s, most businesses did overlook their importance until up to 2014, when Google, in their mission to ensure security for web users Google announced that they would be considering it as a ranking signal.
Major browsers like Mozilla and Chrome have today put up strong measures for restricting uncertified websites. According to this report, by May 2019, over 84% of sites which loaded on Chrome all had the HTTPS protocol on their platforms.
Moreover, over 90% of total browsing times spent on Chrome were spent on the https pages. Why this sudden upsurge? Well, most webmasters have learned that the SSL Certificates does not only help you ensure visitors’ information on your sites are secure but also help you boost SEO.
Here is a breakdown of the SEO benefits of SSL Certificates
- SSL Certificates influence your web visitors’ dwell time and bounce rates
When you install the SSL certificates on your site, browsers like Firefox and Chrome will indicate a green light icon. If you don’t install them, any new visitor to your site will be shown a red signal, and a warning that the site is not safe.
We all know how browsing insecure pages can be fatal, and so, nobody will be willing to risk browsing on your site. They will quickly navigate away even before consuming a piece of your content.
Note that Google analytics also checks the engagements on your site as a ranking signal. Therefore, the least time spent on your website, the more future users will be directed to other competitor sites.
When your site also has too many bounce rates, Google may consider it irrelevant or spam, and send it down the drain. All these factors combined will hurt your overall SEO and Google ranking.
- Google wants you to use it on your site
If reports from Google are anything to go by, your site won’t rank without the SSL certificates in the future. In this August 6th report, Google made it clear that they will include the SSL certificates in their ranking algorithms.
However, it’s only a lightweight ranking signal as compared to major factors like quality content but there are plans to make it a major factor. Now, it only affects just 1% of the global ranking signal as Google allows more time for webmasters to install it.
In support of this was this analysis on 1 million Google Search Results, which showed a correlation between Google ranking, and the HTTPS protocols. According to this analysis, the certificate affects the ranking of sites on Google’s first page.
Google gives an upper hand to websites with HTTPS protocols, such that if two sites had equal quality, and relevance in content, the one with the HTTPS protocol will rank higher.
- It is a smart way of outranking your competitors
It’s worth noting that not all marketers are technically brilliant. Of course, there’s that group that will get stuck with these little techy things.
What do you say about taking advantage of such competitors? If you understand the HTTPs protocols, you won’t have a hard time using them as compared to other marketers who finds this challenging.
It isn’t technical as the name sounds though. One of the best ways out is to Buy SSL Certificates that are genuine and offered by certificate authorities.
If you bought an expired or illegitimate certificate, your site might still have the HTTPS sign instead of the HTTP, but your visitors will be alerted that the site is insecure or somebody is tampering with the website, something which may increase those costly bounce rates on your site.
The Negative Side
Now, if you don’t install the SSL certificates correctly, they’ll turn up against you. A broken SSL Certificate will harm your SEO.
Here is how bad an SSL Certificate can be;
Google’s Gary Illyes affirms that; the validity of your SSL Certificate may not affect your HTTPS ranking directly. The signal will remain unaffected, and you still get the boost, but it will affect other factors.
Usually, the problems associated with broken SSL Certificate which should worry you are;
- Slow website and page loading speed
Your site speed is not only crucial for a positive user experience but also impacts your SEO and Google ranking. Google had already made this clear by insisting that they also take into account the page loading speed as a ranking algorithm.
The slow loading speed will also mean that search engine spiders will only crawl a few of your web pages, something which will negatively affect your indexing. Moreover, the slow loading speed will also negatively impact your user experience, causing your web visitors to navigate away quickly increasing the bounce rates.
- Warnings on your site that it isn’t secure
This factor connects with increased bounce rates. If the certificates are invalid or broken, most web browsers like Chrome will notify your browsers that the site isn’t safe.
Besides, most browsers don’t show an option of gaining access to the website past this warning, but even if they are displayed, any average search engine user knows how dangerous malware and viruses can be to their computers, and PC, therefore, navigate away quickly.
Switching to HTTPS from HTTP
If you’re contemplating switching to HTTPS, here’s a quick guide to help you get on board.
- Purchase, a legitimate and relevant SSL Certificate- Here, we would like to mention about Comodo SSL Certificates that divide different types of certificates into seven subgroups i.e.
- Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates- For large businesses and eCommerce stores keeping tons of sensitive data and wants the highest validation of a business.
- Multidomain SSL Certificates- For companies/businesses looking for a cost-effective way of securing numerous websites using the multi-domain SSL Certificates.
- Wildcard SSL Certificates- For enterprises using one domain name with multiple subdomains.
- Unified Communications Certificates- For Office Communications Server 2007, and Microsoft Exchange 2010.
- Single domain SSL Certificates- To help with securing websites using the SSL encryption, and traditional vetting/validation.
- After choosing your certificate, get it configured with CSR and complete the process of validation. Then install it on desire server. If necessary, you can update all your website links then set up 301 directs.
- Update your sites HTTPS version in your Webmaster tools, robots. Text, Google Analytics, and CDN.
- Test the site to confirm all the configurations are working correctly.
It’s important to note that Google currently gives too much weight to the SSL Certificates. There are, however, indications that the SSL certificates will play pivotal roles in site indexing, and ranking.
This is primarily because most webmasters are embracing it, and if you don’t make the shift early, it could be too late in the future. But then, it’s always prudent to be on the safe side than sorry. Getting a relevant certificate, will spare you the headaches of a damaged reputation, high bounce rates, and reduced conversion rates, etc.