How Website Security Affects Your Search Rankings
The Google Chrome browser warns users if a website is not SSL-enabled by displaying a “not secure” message next to the URL. This, along with the proliferation of data hacking, should be reasons enough to have your site certified as secure (HTTP versus HTTPS).
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the server and browser remains private. This means no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what you’re doing. Without that encryption, someone with access could intercept information that was sent.
But if this hasn’t convinced you to secure your site yet, then consider the fact that sites with SSL encryption rank higher than their non-certified competitor’s sites (all other elements considered equal). Additionally, up to 85% of web surfers will not continue browsing if a site is not secure, according to a recent survey from HubSpot Research.
Having a secure site also proves advantageous outside of search rankings. With a secure site, the data collected (such as referral sources) is saved. You then have that data in Google Analytics available to you to help you make better-informed SEO decisions. One other advantage of added security is reducing risk. You have less chance of data theft, which in turn lessens monetary damages. You also mitigate the risk of damaging your online reputation if there were to be a data breach.
SSL encryption may just be mandatory one day, and not just for sites that collect sensitive data (such as credit card numbers). Eventually, non-SSL-certified sites will be flagged so as not to even be indexed during searches. It’s definitely worth the investment to become SLL-certified now.