HTTPS and SSL: Do You Need to Secure Your Site?

HTTPS and SSL: Do You Need to Secure Your Site?

Google and others are continuing their ongoing push to help make the web more secure. We are seeing the steady adoption of HTTPS – evidenced by the fact that half of page 1 results on Google are now HTTPS. For those of you not familiar with the term, HTTPS stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.” The “S” comes from SSL, the security technology which encrypts all data passed between your browser and the web server.

Moz suggests that this will grow to 65% by the end of 2017. So the push to SSL is happening – but what do marketers need to do about it? The update below shares what marketers and site owners need to know about the growing trend.

How Google is specifically pushing SSL

  • According to Google, HTTPS is now a search engine ranking signal. Since it’s just one of 200+ factors, having it won’t make you suddenly rank #1 for every keyword. However, if your website and another website tie on every other ranking signal, HTTPS can give you the edge needed for the top ranking.
  • Google also flags unencrypted sites in Chrome.

Should I secure my site? How?

The answer is different for every company. But what we can tell you is that there are a lot of benefits, such as the coveted Google ranking boost. Let’s face it, everyone wants to be #1. Or at least on page one of search results!

Big benefits of SSL

  • Data privacy and security: People are using hotspots more than ever before. It’s important to encrypt full websites – not just logins – because you never know who might be watching and waiting for the opportunity to capture session information and other private data! Without security, you become an open book, online.
  • Content source validation: HTTPS not only encrypts the data, but verifies the content source. This is important because SSL certificates must be verified and issued from a trusted source – giving users a high level of confidence that what they are downloading is actually from the site they’re on. This prevents “man in the middle” attacks and prevents hackers from replacing non-secured content with viruses or other malicious code. When the world is made of data, you want to know what you’re dealing with is safe.

Tips for a flawless implementation 

In the past, it could be costly and tough to implement SSL. This isn’t true today. You just need to factor in a little bit of time to implement SSL correctly and the cost of purchasing and maintaining SSL certificates. The thing is, most websites don’t have a flawless SSL implementation – and end up seeing no benefit.

Make sure you do it right, with tips from Google Search Console and Search Engine Land:

  • Use server-side 301 redirects
  • Don’t forget to update all link references in your content
  • Update any paid media, email or marketing automation campaigns to use the HTTPS versions of the URLs
  • In your analytics platform, make sure you update the default URL if one is required, to ensure that you are tracking HTTPS properly, and add notes about the change so that you know when it occurred for future reference
  • Add the HTTPS property to Search Console: Google sees it as a separate site

Questions? The Signal team is here to help make sure your websites are functional, beautiful – and secure.  

Meghann Porter - Digital Marketing Director

By: Meghann Porter

Digital Marketing Director

Meghann has over 10 years of experience developing digital marketing programs. At Signal, she manages a wide range of digital initiatives – including SEM, social, display, retargeting, SEO, mobile, user testing and conversion optimization. She’s an integral part of our team, working across industries and clients to contribute to the design and build of all web and mobile projects. Meghann is known for her masterful understanding of online analytics.

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