Nick Cavarretta

Internet Marketing Blog Posts

Here are my rantings on internet marketing. I've given some good advice in some articles, and others, well. Take a look for yourself.

SSL Encryption is now a ranking signal

At the start of this month – August 2014 – the SEO industry became aware that https encryption is considered a ranking signal, with Google search favouring websites with SSL Certificates.

Google had previously ran tests in their search algorithm and took SSL encryption as a form of ranking signal with positive results. It's also no secret that Google plan on increasing this signal over time as webmasters start making the switch.

What is an SSL Certificate?

Human beings are naturally skeptical little critters. But why wouldn't we be?

Our earliest ancestors were smaller (and probably dumber) than a lot of natural predators out there, and it’s only thanks to our adaptability – and some good luck – that we've been able to become the most dominant species on the planet.

But that doesn't mean predators have disappeared. They've just changed their stripes.

Most of them come in the form of modern-day snake oil salesman peddling something on a late-night infomercial, whereas others are a little bit sneakier and use modern psychology and effective marketing tactics to get us to buy things that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

On top of that, there is a ridiculous amount of digital crime out there – cyber thieves just waiting for the right moment to spring a trap and steal your personal, private, and payment information (sometimes without you even knowing it)!

heartbleed_nickcavarrettaThat’s where the SSL certificate comes into play, but you need the correct encryption. Remember the Heartbleed Bug? This was an exploit within the OpenSSL certificate, whilst SSL encryption from well known companies remained untouched as they sign their own certificated and charge a fee. This is where buying certificated from companies such as VeriSign and Rapid Trust will benefit you in the long run.

SSL certificates are essentially “secure portals” that allow a website to lock down and encrypt information that is entered into any forms or databases on that particular page.

Created specifically to create “clean rooms” online that protect and encrypt payment and personal information from anyone trying to steal it, think of a SSL certificate has a tunnel between a website and a payment processor that is absolutely impenetrable.

E-commerce websites (and any website that sells something) use SSL certificates, and you’ll be able to know whether or not a specific website is legit by looking for a padlock icon in the address bar. This denotes that the website has already gone through the process of buying SSL certificates and is using them right now, and your information is completely safe and secure.

Benefits of buying SSL certificates

If you are serious about selling ANYTHING online, you’re going to need to (strongly) consider buying SSL certificates before your website goes live. Especially now that Google is on a mission to encrypt the internet.

A relatively inexpensive purchase (you can buy shared SSL certificates or a dedicated one linked only to you that are slightly more expensive), you’ll be able to immediately take advantage of this protection – protection your customers and your visitors are expecting.

It’s almost impossible to run a business today without buying SSL certificates online, as most customers will run in the other direction and click off of your site just as quickly as they can if they don’t see that little padlock. This is the big benefit of an SSL certificate, and a major reason that you need to make the minimal investment before pushing any traffic to that page.

At the end of the day, you might even want to consider buying SSL certificates if you aren't selling anything on your site but request or require people to enter personal or private information (including logon names and passwords for access to your content).

It’s just another layer of extra security that you can offer already skeptical human beings, showing them that you are anything but a carnival barker or late-night infomercial host peddling the latest and greatest snake oil – someone just waiting to run away with their credit card info!

More Benefits as of August 2014

Ranking Position Change for HTTPSAs mentioned at the start of this article, Google now favours HTTPS encryption and ranks you higher than usual. I've experienced this first hand as the algorithm change was rolled out. I've added a screenshot from my rank tracking software where you will actually see the ranking dance one the update was released and settling 4 pages up.

I should also mention that I have done NO SEO to this website whatsoever, as it's newly developed on a new(ish) domain name and landing pages are still being written as I figure out what products/services to rank first.

Google's John Mueller mentioned recently in a Google hangout that it's separate from other algorithms and is very light signal, with over time the signal will strengthen.

Although with this website I built it on https from the start, I have also noticed that some SEOs are installing SSLs and not redirecting http to https and experiencing a loss in ranking as their links juice hits a 404 error. So make sure you add the following code to your htaccess file to make sure you're redirecting http to https across your entire domain.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI}

I hope you found this article useful and would be eternally grateful if you pressed that share button below. Sorry but comments remain closed, but tag me via twitter if you have any questions.



Get your hands on an SSL certificate today! I'm shamelessly placing an affiliate link to the best place I've discovered for cheap SSL certificates, I would be forever grateful if you used my link (in the banner below) to take a look and possibly purchase your next SSL certificate.

SSL Certificates From Certs 4 Less

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