Do you know that an SSL certificate can improve your search visibility?
A recent study by Harvard Business School shows that increasing your customer retention rate by 5% increases profit by 25 – 95%.
Businesses are working hard to get to the first page of Google SERPs. Although, some of these businesses work in line with Google’s algorithm updates while others use black-hat SEO practices. On the long-run, this will not go well with their website.
However, there’s one technique most webmasters overlook which is not only important for driving organic traffic but to also retain customers.
It’s simply leveraging SSL to improve their business.
A recent Google transparency report shows that 79 of the top 100 websites still don’t deploy HTTPS. Even eBay, the popular shopping site doesn’t.
That’s so bad — this is one of the reasons why sensitive user information is disclosed daily and accounts been hacked.
So it doesn’t sound like a new thing anymore when we say users accounts are been stolen and sold every day on stores in the dark web.
Well. in this article you’re going to find out why you need to install an SSL certificate on your website if you have not done so.
But first, let’s get the basics out of the way.
What is SSL Certificate?
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate provides a security layer on your website to protect your website from sharing sensitive visitors/customers information.
According to the official SSL website “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.”
So, an SSL encrypts plain text like credit card details, passwords, and data that only the website and the user are meant to decrypt. It also authenticates websites and let users know when a website is not secured to visit/use.
You can identify that a website is secured with SSL certificate if it’s deployed via HTTPS like this: https://www.example.com with a padlock as shown below.
And in Google Chrome there’s an additional word added — “Secure.”
Here are the ways an SSL certificate can help improve your business, and gradually boost your organic search performance:
1). SSL enhances customer and visitor trust
The internet is really porous. We see a lot of horrible things happening online daily.
And it seems every day there’s another security breach headline. Studies have revealed that over 30,000 websites are infected with malware each day.
So how do you make your own website safe for users?
By using a layer of security that communicates the security of your website to your customers (i.e., SSL certificate) from a trusted company, you can make your customers feel safer.
When customers see the “secure” in their browser address box and the padlock icon on your website — psychologically it makes them feel safe and positive about your website.
And they’ll feel like, “yes, this website is secure we can buy from them safely.”
Personally, I made up my mind that I’ll not even register on any website that doesn’t have an SSL certificate installed let alone buying a product there.
But, how exactly do you make your customers trust your brand?
Start by installing an SSL certificate. It’s a cheap way to get your customers to trust your brand more. A study by SaaS Brand found that 39% of websites with a secure server acquires more customers in the long-run compared to websites without it.
If you don’t have an SSL certificate installed you’re leaving a lot on the table and you’re turning your customers away. When visitors get to your website and they see this:
“Not Secure” – it immediately turns them off. They won’t buy from you.
2). Improve Google rankings
In 2014 Google mentioned that in a way to make the web a safe place and to secure privacy for online users, they have decided to crawl more websites with HTTPS by default.
“Today we’d like to announce that we’re adjusting our indexing system to look for more HTTPS pages. Specifically, we’ll start crawling HTTPS equivalents of HTTP pages, even when the former are not linked to from any page.”
Yes, this is something you should take advantage of.
But will it work independently of other ranking factors?
You need to optimize your web pages in line with Google’s guidelines. Then, by the time you add an SSL certificate, it becomes an added advantage and interestingly that’s just where the web is moving to, we can’t possibly hide from it.
The process of setting up the SSL certificate can be a nightmare if you’re not experienced. However, most web hosting companies have made it easy by allowing you to install it in one click.
And have it updated automatically when it expires — having it installed isn’t enough, updating is very important. It’s even scarier to visitors when your certificate expires and you don’t update it.
Look at this:
Your visitors will immediately hit the back button when they get here, especially those who understands what HTTPS means.
If you Install an SSL certificate properly you’re more likely to experience an increase in website traffic which your business needs to grow.
Malware attack can really affect user experience on your website and gradually pull your organic search rankings down. It’s possible.
If your website is been attacked by a malware Google may likely penalize your website.
And sooner or later, you’ll ultimately lose your ranking.
You know that time is required to recover from any form of Google penalty and might be difficult to return to your top ranking positions even after you’ve recovered from it.
In addition, don’t be the one distributing malware to your customers as a recent Kaspersky security bulletin reported that browsers are more vulnerable to malware attacks.
While there are other methods you can use to avoid this from happening it’s important that you use an SSL company that keeps you in check.
3). Improve Conversion Rate
It’s no news that if your customers trust your brand they’ll feel safer buying from you, and even become loyal brand advocates.
It’s very important that your prospective customers trust your business. This would make it easier for them to submit their credit card details and carry out safe transactions.
Remember that when there’s no trust, then there may not be a drive to buy.
The reverse is the case if your prospective customers notice that you are being careless about their security — they’ll take their money to your competitors. Worse case scenario: they might never return to your (unsafe) website.
However, not all customers will understand this technical stuffs, so it pays to add an SSL trust seal on your website to let your customers know how you value their safety.
See some examples of Trust seals:
A case study by Symantec reveals that a client saw a 10% to 87% increase in conversion using Symantec EV SSL seal.
This goes a long way to prove that an inclusion of SSL seals in any part of your website especially on your shopping cart can significantly improve your conversion rate.
On the flip side, your conversion will likely suffer without a seal. Or what do you think?
4). Keeps data secure
While SSL certificate shows everyone that your website is legitimate it also allows you to secure your customer’s credit card details, bank details, and their passwords.
Hackers are constantly creating phishing websites but having an SSL certificate can significantly combat this practice and differentiate real websites from phishing websites.
More so, it’s important that you use a trusted SSL company that can really help you with adequate security; they would scan the web for a duplicate of your domain DNS and SSL private key constantly — you need this to be double sure about your user’s safety.
This is important — it ensures that your DNS and private key aren’t easily stolen with a malware just the way it happened to NiceBank, a large financial institution (NiceBank is a fictional bank that was used in a case study by Venafi).
NiceBank’s DNS and private key were stolen and used to create a phishing website that tricked a lot of the bank’s customers into submitting their credit card details to the site thinking that it’s the correct website. How sad!
And eventually, the credit card details were sold on the dark web at the AphaBay market — a fraud marketplace in the dark web.
This is very important for all websites that accept credit cards, debit card and passwords.
Honestly, your customers will like to stay with your brand knowing that you care about their safety online.
I’m sure you’re now aware of the need to use an SSL certificate on your website.
Without one, users will hardly trust you and search engines will give other website preference over yours.
You can acquire an SSL certificate from any trusted company or get it for free from Let’s Encrypt, if you don’t yet have a budget for it.
However, the fact that it’s free doesn’t mean it’s trash. But here’s my candid advice: If you truly care about user’s safety on your website, invest in a premium SSL certificate.
Side note: If you don’t accept payments or collect emails and passwords on your website, you might not need an SSL certificate.
But you should install it because you’ll most likely be losing traffic to your competitors that have installed SSL certificate and also because that’s the norm online right now.
As usual, I’d love to hear from you. Do you use an SSL certificate on your website? What results have you seen so far?
About the Author — Michael Chibuzor is a professional content writer and digital marketing expert. He helps software companies acquire more leads and 10x revenue. You can check out his marketing cost breakdown before investing in search engine optimization or any channel. You can also reach him on Twitter @mikecoder