Now more than ever, SSL website security matters. That’s because Google made changes to its popular Chrome browser in October 2017 that, honestly, scare some people to death. When customers who are so vital to your business try to submit info to you on a non-secure page, they see the words “not secure” right there on the website address line. And who’s going to fill out a form on a page like that?
Fortunately, adding SSL security to your website is quick and painless when you turn to experienced pros to handle the task for you. Your “http” will turn to “https” – the mark of a safe site.
What Is SSL Anyway?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer – but that doesn’t really tell you much. Simply put, SSL is the standard in security technology for creating an encrypted link between a browser like Chrome or Edge and the server where a website is hosted.
When a connection isn’t secure, anyone could get access to submitted data along the way – to use it for marketing purposes, sell it, or perhaps use it to steal your customer’s identity. When the connection is secured with SSL, the site has a special certificate in place that means the data shared over the link is private.
Securing with SSL is important when your site has a form of any kind – even just collecting an email address. When a site user hits submit on your form, the information they’re sending your way could be intercepted before it reaches you – by a hacker intent on causing harm. And think about what you ask for on your forms. If an email address is intercepted, it could lead to your customer being inundated with spam messages. It’s even worse if you ask for a mailing address, birth date, or other sensitive information.
With SSL in place, this avenue of attack is cut off. When a browser connects with a server, the “certificate” is checked and the details are encrypted so they can’t be stolen along the way. And SSL doesn’t slow down your website.
The Google Change That Makes SSL So Important
In late 2017, Google made some changes to its Chrome browser – the web browser that has a 47 percent share of the market. That means these changes impact nearly half the people using the web. (Others use Microsoft Edge or competing methods of getting to websites.) Starting in Chrome version 62, any browser page with a form will be clearly labeled if SSL is NOT in place. When a user starts typing, the ominous words “not secure” will appear. When users click the warning for more info, they’re told not to enter sensitive details because they could be “stolen by attackers”.
In other words, they’re told that you don’t care about their safety and security.
Recent research has shown that as many as 85 percent of users won’t use a form that isn’t secure. And who can blame them? But there’s more to this issue than that. Google makes changes to its algorithms and browser all the time, and the company is showing a clear preference toward secure sites. Whether your site has forms or not, making it totally secure with a valid SSL certificate can increase customer confidence, make Google happier with your site and help with your search engine ranking along the way.
Why SSL Helps With Your Site’s SEO
Your site needs SEO to show up well in web searches – and SSL can help. Are you getting confused by all the letters? Let’s say it this way: Certain practices make sites show up higher in search engine rankings when people search. Now, having a secure site is one of the practices that improve your site’s ranking.
Google’s analysts have confirmed in several published reports that the company’s way of ranking sites now takes into account whether a site is secure or not. The company has even confirmed that if two sites are otherwise equal, the one with secure content will rank higher than the one that isn’t secure. And remember that most people searching on the web use Google – so their opinions and attitudes are the ones that matter most.
Not sure if your site is secure – or if a competitor’s site is secure? Look for “https” instead of just “http” in the address line of the web browser. You’ll also see a tiny padlock beside the address. If it’s locked rather than unlocked, the site is secure – and Google is happy. Be sure to check contact pages, since only form pages are secured on some sites.
Bringing It All Together For A Better Website
Still not understanding the importance of SSL? Let’s talk about the 3 most important reasons why it’s more important than ever to have a secure website – especially if you depend on web forms to communicate with your customers:
1. Positive visual cues. When your site isn’t secure, Chrome makes that clear – and other browsers are starting to do the same. Since the relationship between a company and its customers must be built on trust, you don’t want the words “not secure” associated with your company. Show your visitors that you’re doing the right thing.
2. Better search engine visibility. Since Google now factors SSL into its search algorithm, your site could drop in search engine ranking if it isn’t secure. Your competitors may get your business when you don’t keep up with Google changes and requirements. Stay current by adding SSL.
3. A good night’s sleep. A secure site means your customer data is secure, not in the hands of hackers. That’s good for your customers and good for you too. When you add SSL to your site, you’re eliminating a potential security threat. Get peace of mind when you secure your site.
Everyone wins when a website is secure. No one wins when customer data is intercepted and stolen – or when customers think it might be. Adding SSL to your site is the right thing to do for security, customer confidence, and a great search ranking. Plus, it’s easy and affordable.
At Spectra Web Designs, we’re experts in securing small business and organization websites with SSL. We can handle this issue for you quickly, easily, and economically – without making visible changes to your site. Or we can create a new, secure site for your company. Let’s talk about how you can have the best web presence possible.