Will Google’s SSL Certificate Change Impact My Site Rankings?

By Jen Lyttle, Digital Account Executive

Google is changing the way users view website security. As of July 2018 Google will flag websites without an SSL Certificate as unsafe on Chrome browsers. This update changes more than just how Google ranks websites on search. It impacts whether or not users view websites as safe.

Photo of locks on a fence meant to signify the security of an ssl certificate

But, what is an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins. Simply put – SSL certificates signify to a user that a website is safe to use because it is protecting private information.

a photo of a road meant to signify the direction users should plan to take with google's new ssl certificate requirements

How will Google’s Change Affect Me?

Google has been hinting that website security would be part of their algorithm considerations for some time but has produced nothing concrete until this year. Google owns the Chrome browser, which represents an estimated 58+% of the browser market and is increasing that share every year. This means Chrome users trust Google.

Google now alerts Chrome users when a site is not secure. This will affect a user’s choice when evaluating the safety of browsing a website – especially for new visitors. Would you continue onto a website you’ve never visited before if your trusted browser warned you it may be unsafe? Probably not. And it’s not a stretch to think that other browsers will follow suit after Chrome.

What Now?

In the age of data breaches and malware/ransomware attacks, applying an SSL has become an industry standard, and something that Google is pushing sites to adopt. We’d strongly recommend investing and applying a 2-year SSL to your domain as soon as possible. This will ensure that you don’t lose trust with first-time visitors or see any short-term losses in traffic.

Check Your SSL Certificate Here

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