Ranking factors for SEO on Google are always changing but one thing remains constant: it aims to deliver a safe and streamlined browsing experience. You might be too focused on delivering good content but what you should know is that SEO isn’t all about what can be seen on your website.
Part of what it means to provide a good browsing experience is making sure that your website is safe. People are well aware of the things that happen online and the last thing they want is to become a victim of hacks and security breaches.
That’s why a few years back, Google has started making an SSL Certificate a requirement when it comes to SEO.
What Is An SSL Certificate?
SSL means Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a security protocol that can help create encrypted links between a web server and a web browser.
To put it simply, an SSL certificate is a digital certificate that can help verify a website’s security. On top of that, it can also be an encrypted connection which means that the website is protected by another layer of security that masks the browsing experience of those that browse in it.
This type of certification is very crucial for websites that are involved in retail or monetary transactions. Basically, it ensures that all online transactions and any private information that goes through the server are secure and encrypted. In a time where data breaches are very common, such a security measure is a blessing.
Let’s take a look at how it works. When a customer makes an online payment, they’ll have to input sensitive data such as their names, addresses, and of course bank details. Without an SSL certificate, not only can hackers get this important information, but they can also steal this information as well.
With an SSL certificate putting encryption over the data, it will be harder for hackers to try and steal anything useful on the website. This gives consumers the safety and security they need online.
SSLs have been around for over two decades already and their importance within the online world has become every bit as important today. In the last couple of years, billions have been lost to data breaches made to major companies like Yahoo, Marriott International, and many others.
It’s time websites and business owners take a stand against hackers and data breaches. Now, what this means for you is that it’s time you begin taking security measures more seriously. One of the best steps you can take of course is to use SSL on your website as well.
Another downside is that Google will be flagging your website as being not secure enough for users. Whenever a website visitor clicks on your website, Google will warn them about the potential risks when browsing your website.
In many cases, your visitors are most likely to go back and not push through with the web visit because of the concerns.
On your end, this results in other repercussions such as lost sales, lower click-through rates, and more. Most concerning however is the loss of trust between your visitors and your brand. It’s easy to recover and make more sales but regaining the trust of your web visitors is an even bigger challenge.
What To Do Next?
First off, you’ll need to understand whether your website already has an SSL certificate or not. To do this, we suggest most of our clients check out SSL Shopper – SSL Test. From there, you can see whether your website is prepared for the worst in the case of a data breach.
The best and only way to get an SSL certificate is to contact your web hosting provider. They’ll give you what you need and the security that your customers deserve. It’s a fairly easy process that can help maximize the conversions and clicks you get on your website.
From a short perspective, security problems are problematic on their own already. However, think in the long-term. Consider just how impactful a security breach might be for your website. Companies lose millions because of data breaches, imagine how much it can impact your website.
The immediate response to a data breach on your website would be a lower ranking on SERPs. However, that’s just the beginning. You’ll also have to consider the fact that people are going to have less trust in your website once it becomes the centre of a security breach.
There are a lot of things you can do to improve your website’s security. In truth, an SSL certificate is just the beginning of it all. Now, it’s time you know some more tips on how you can further improve your website’s security.
Always Keep Software Up-To-Date
A lot of websites today are compromised because of outdated software. Be it the platform you are using to run your website or the plugins you have installed, it’s vital that you keep your software up-to-date at all times. There’s a reason why the developers behind these platforms are always shelling out new updates.
These updates are released to ensure that any security flaws on their end are patched out. Hackers are constantly looking for security flaws within these platforms. It would be a good idea to make sure that there are no problems with your website by constantly updating it.
Updating is free after all so leverage this service to your advantage.
Use Better Passwords
The baseline protection for your website will always be the password you use to lock your website with. A lot of people don’t value the importance of a good password. When making our password, make sure that it’s hard to guess or decipher.
For one, it shouldn’t be made using words that can be related to you such as your birthday, the place you live at, etc. Make sure that your password is a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
If you’re worried about forgetting your password, you can write it down on a piece of paper which you should then hide in a secure place. Make sure to change your password at least once every three months so that you can keep those hackers guessing.
Check With Your Web Host
Your web host plays a crucial role in the security of your website. Before you pick a web host, you should at least ask what type of security they can provide for your website. Of course, you should look if they have the capacity to give you an SSL certificate. Additionally, they should also provide you with HTTPS protection.
HTTPS or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is a protocol that can give further protection from the dangers of the internet. It prevents any interceptions or interruptions while content is moving from one area to another.
Use A Web Application Firewall
A web application firewall or WAF is a security measure that stands between your website server and data connection. It can help read all the data that passes through your website which in turn prevents viruses, trojans, and malware from getting through.
WAFs are typically cloud-based services nowadays. What this means is that it’s a lot easier to get this service for your platform. Additionally, WAFs can also prevent unwanted traffic like spammers and malicious bots from ever reaching your website.
Increase Access Control
Chances are that you are running the website with the help of other people. Be it, content creators or web developers, other people that have access to your website can also be a source of problems for security.
It’s recommended to keep track of the people who are logging in and making changes to your website. It’s also proper to constantly give them reminders about keeping your website secure. As much as possible, reduce the number of people that have access to your website as this means lesser chances of security vulnerabilities as well.
Use Security Plugins
Plugins are a cheap and easy way to prevent major problems for your website. If you’re using platforms like WordPress, then making use of these plugins is as easy as making a few clicks and enabling said plugins.
There are plugins that automatically detect viruses or malware as they happen. This is a good way to stay ahead of the problem before they get worse. Web development experts suggest making use of these plugins to your advantage especially if you aren’t too savvy when it comes to web development.
Protecting your website means taking these actionable steps to ensure that your visitors are safe from any problems online. It will pay off handsomely for you as a website owner so don’t be stingy when it comes to web security.
This is the bottom line. Security is one of the most valuable aspects to focus on for SEO. Many of our clients here at Constant Clicks initially believe that good content and a snazzy website is all it takes to rank higher in Google. Once we lay down the facts about security, they’ll begin to understand why it’s such an important ranking factor to consider.
In truth, an SSL certificate is just the start of it. There are a lot of other things you can do as a website owner to help fortify your platform. We can help point out where you are lacking so that you don’t have to worry about security problems on your website ever again.
With a website that’s secure and highly functional, you’ll start seeing better conversions and results on your website fast. Don’t let security woes drag you down as problems like these can linger for a very long time. As such, begin checking up on any lapses in security that your website might have as soon as you can.