Google Admits Ranking Boost For Secure Pages
Google has announced that it is using web security certificates as "very lightweight signals" within their overall ranking algorithm. In plain speak this means that your site pages will get a ranking boost if they are protected by an SSL or TLS certificate. By doing this Google is attemtping to force the move towards all sites being made more secure for visitors. If all sites do this then the playing field will become level but for the time being there are many website owners who haven't invested in SSL or TLS certificates for their domains. As a result you do have an opportunity to steal ground on your competitors, if you haven't already done so.
Getting a reward from Google for having secure pages is nice but there are other strong reasons for investing in an SSL or TLS certificate, and then making it active for your site.
Many visitors like to feel secure when they're using a website. They're much more likely to use your on-site contact form if they can see the information they're entering into fields is going to be encrypted before being transmitted over the internet. This is what the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols do.
You know when a page is protected by either of these security standards when you see the http:// that precedes a page address changed to https://
I guarantee that if you are running an e-commerce site that is not protected by an SSL or TLS certificate you will be missing sales!
The message is clear, protecting visitors by protecting pages with SSL or TLS certificates will increase engagement. No if's but's or maybe's!
Your business will be more credible and taken more seriously if you are seen to be serious about the security of your web site and your website visitors. Google is effectively saying this with it's announcement about a ranking boost for sites that have active and legitimate security certificates.
Do you move on from a site if you can't find a way to reach a business other than using their on-site contact form? I do and I'm certain many other people do. My attitude is that if a business is not prepared to provide their full contact details they must be trying to hide something.
If a business is asking me to share more than just basic contact information I want to be sure I'm doing so on a secure page.
The overriding reason for applying an SSL or TLS certificate to your site is naturally security. These security standards have come about because there is a darker side to the web. You are aware of it and so are your customers.
Google have provided an incentive to take a step you've probably been putting off. It's a good step to take.
Taking The Step
When you apply a security certificate to your site you can elect to place all site pages behind it or only some. At WD4T we elected to place all site pages behind our SSL certificate.
Whatever you choose to do talk to your webmaster about getting a certificate applied to your site.