SSL-enabled sites will rank higher in Google. So now what?
Google has recently announced that HTTPS encryption will be a key search engine ranking factor from now on.
This is a great signal that site security is one of the key assets of any website, along with high-quality content, speed and uptime.
With the security introduction to the algorithm, Google is hoping to encourage more sites to turn on encryption and thus become less vulnerable to hacking attacks.
What is site encryption?
Encryption is a technology that scrambles sensitive data like credit card and login details, as it is transmitted between a user’s device and an online service in order to prevent malevolent users from eavesdropping on the information.
An encrypted site can be recognized by the little padlock in the browser bar and the HTTPS protocol (S stands for secure) in front of the web address.
Site encryption is implemented through the installation of a 2048-bit key SSL certificate on the site. Once set up, the SSL certificate will be responsible for encrypting sensitive data the moment the latter is submitted from the user’s device to the online service.
Is site encryption expensive?
For years, adding SSL encryption to a site has been seen as an additional burden due to price concerns or the fear of load time lagging.
However, now there are high-speed encryption technologies available, which means that speed is no longer an issue.
With regard to pricing, site owners can choose between various SSL pricing options (for single, multi-domain or wildcard certificates), which will all ensure the level of protection that Google is talking about.
Which is the most cost-effective site encryption method?
Normally, installing an SSL on a site requires that a dedicated IP address be purchased beforehand.
However, we, at ResellersPanel, have recently launched a Web Hosting Control Panel option for users to activate an SSL certificate for their sites without needing to pay for an IP address.
This is possible with the help of a shared IP address that is assigned to the http host instead of the required dedicated IP.
This way, users who can’t afford to activate a dedicated IP address for their site will still be able to make it secure in the eyes of their visitors and the search engines. You will not need to worry about relevancy, since a site with an SSL that uses a shared IP address will still have ‘https’ in front and will look just as secure as a normal site using a dedicated IP.
To learn how you can easily enable an SSL for your site at no extra cost, check out our Shared IPs for SSL certificates article.
What if I already have an SSL installed on the site?
Most websites using HTTPS usually have an SSL installed on the checkout or login pages only, since these are the basic places where sensitive information is submitted by site visitors.
However, Google has made it clear in its announcement that it wants all the pages on any given website to use HTTPS.
So if you are using an SSL on specific pages only, you will need to expand the encryption coverage by enabling an SSL for the root domain. In case you use separate subdomains for your signup/login forms, then installing a Wildcard Certificate should be your solution.
According to Google, webmasters will be given time to switch to HTTPS, so, for now, site encryption is still a lightweight signal, which will affect less than 1% of the global queries.
However, after the consecutive adoption of HTTPS on Google’s main services like Gmail, search and pay-per-click advertising, Google made it clear that site security would soon become a factor. Well, the time has obviously come, so there is really no excuse for continuing to transmit site data in plain text format and for delaying the adoption of HTTPS.
Especially, when it is a matter of a few clicks from your web hosting Control Panel …
Originally published Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 at 3:08 pm, updated November 19, 2015 and is filed under Hepsia Control Panel.