Have you ever wondered to yourself while perusing the Internet what the difference is between ‘HTTP’ and ‘HTTPS’? Well, wonder no longer. We’re here to guide you through secure domain names and why they could improve your SEO ranking on Google.

Let’s start with the basics. Http is the abbreviation of Hypertext Transfer Protocol. But why is there an extra “s” popped on the end sometimes? This will often appear when the website you are visiting contains sensitive information, for example when you are shopping online or making payments or transfers through online banking sites. In short, the “s” stands for “secure” – a shortened version of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This protects both you and your users’ data from being intercepted by hackers or any other unwanted third-parties by encrypting connections to the website.

From the Horse’s Mouth

Let’s take a quick look at the official definition from SSL.com:

“SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers”.

 What This Looks Like

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Can an SSL Certificate Improve your Search Engine Rankings?

The short answer is: absolutely!

The main purpose of a secure connection is to protect your data from being intercepted, but it can also benefit you when it comes to SEO. This is because https is now an integral part of Google’s search engine ranking algorithms, which they first introduced in December 2015. However, from 2017 this will now come into force, making it even more important for sites to carry a secure domain.

As mentioned in Google’s own security blog, “To help users browse the web safely, Chrome indicates connection security with an icon in the address bar. Historically, Chrome has not explicitly labelled HTTP connections as non-secure. Beginning in January 2017 (Chrome 56), we’ll mark HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure.”

Google’s algorithms essentially force websites all around the world to compete against each other for the top spot when it comes to site rankings. If you imagine two sites are neck and neck, and eventually have the same ranking, how does Google choose which takes first place? Well they will of course favour the URL that is secure and therefore provides it with the extra boost.

Https Provides Users with Added Reassurance

Websites are being hacked constantly. In fact, approximately 30,000 sites are hacked daily around the world. The most prominent hack in history being one you’ve probably heard of already…the Yahoo hack. Over one billion people were affected by this.  You can understand why data protection on the Internet is on the top of Google’s agenda. Here are just a few statistics of how destructive hackers can be to your business and customer base: Get more information here.

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A secure domain helps to prevent your users’ personal records being snatched up by hackers. We cannot stress enough how important it is for your website to be https protected. If your site accepts payments from buyers and clients directly and your domain isn’t secure you are leaving yourself and your clients open to attack.

However, the same can now be said for websites that purely collect users’ contact details. Visitors and potential users directed to your site want to feel safe and secure when they’re releasing their personal information over to you, so why not put their minds at ease and assure them you will not allow their data to be compromised? In fact, as Google is now also favouring Bounce Rate and the time users spend on a site in their ranking algorithms, having reassured users who are more willing to stay on your site for longer is also good news in terms of SEO.

If you would like to know more about SSL Certificates and how you can tell that your website is secure, check out this guide by Bill Hess, founder of  PixelPrivacy.com – click here!

You can find out more about registering for a secure domain certificate, by getting in touch with EP Marketing Limited call us on 01473 684 192 or email: info@epmarketing.co.uk – we will be happy to provide you with free initial advice.