There are many different aspects to search engine optimisation (SEO), many of which we’ve covered in the Archipelago Communication’s blog. But have you thought about the security of your website? As we explain here, this is not something you should take lightly. Google deems security—both HTTPS and SSL—to be just as important as keywords, authoritative backlinks, and internal link structures when it comes to ranking websites on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Here are four reasons you should consider when evaluating your website security, especially if you want to attract more relevant traffic and turn those visitors into solid leads or conversions.
1. SECURE WEBSITES RANK BETTER ON SEARCH ENGINES
According to Seattle-based Moz, a software as service company specialising in analytics software subscriptions, Google’s algorithms now look at whether a website has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate before deciding where to rank it on its SERPs. Essentially, this means a website with an SSL certificate will always outrank one without a certificate.
The move is Google’s attempt to protect users; something it stated publicly on its website in August 2014. Furthermore, Google Chrome users will see a warning if a website they’re visiting isn’t secure, and it’ll even appear before any information has been entered.
Google also makes sure all its services, such as Gmail and Search for instance, are protected by Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which is the gold standard for internet security. If Google is doing it and suggests webmasters do too, plus the fact Google Chrome has a nearly 60% browser market share at the moment, you should realise how important these steps are if you don’t want to be penalised for not playing by the rules.
2. YOU’LL BUILD TRUST AND GENERATE MORE CONVERSIONS
Conversions are the aim of the game, right? If your website is unsecure—whether that’s Google warning users that it is or the fact it simply looks unsecure—visitors will be less likely to stick around and hand over their details.
SSL matters. According to a HubSpot survey, 82% of respondents said they would leave a website if it wasn’t secure. That’s your cue to do as much as you can to protect your website, and Google has made our lives easier by publishing some handy HTTPS security tips well worth looking a read.
3. PROTECTING USERS AND YOURSELF FROM MALICIOUS INTENT
On its Learn Web Security with Google YouTube video, Google says: “Every year we warn close to a million webmasters about their sites being hacked. As a developer, knowing security best practices to defend your site against hacking is essential.”
Do you know what the green padlock is? Well, if you’re on a secure website, you’ll see it at the left side of the URL bar, right next to where it says ‘Secure’. That means Google deems the website is safe. If you’re interested in website security, your aim is to get the green padlock and protect your visitors from malicious intent.
But how? Well, you might have read that Google is going to remove the padlock altogether, which it will do in the near future. Until then, follow Google’s Search Console guide. It outlines best practice techniques, including using robust security certificates and implementing side-server 301 redirects.
4. EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT
Google currently labels websites that are HTTP, and not HTTPS, as ‘Not Secure’, with the search giant naming and shaming offenders who put internet users at risk.
We can’t say for certain that everyone else has a HTTPS website security, but we can say, in good faith, that if your site doesn’t have the certificate, your business will be directly impacted through ranking penalties.
In the future, Google wants security to be standard and is looking to remove the ‘Secure’ labelling from its browsers. That is the search engine utopia it is dreaming of from its Silicon Valley headquarters in California. But until then, just play by the rules. As we’ve outlined in this post, it’s in your interest to keep security at the front of your mind while dealing with customer information. Failing to protect databases will not only put your customers at risk, but it’s likely to turn away potential customers as they look for more secure alternatives. This is especially true in an age when hackers are increasingly targeting insecure websites with malicious software to hijack and compromise personal information.
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