With the media constantly proclaiming concerns over security breaches in a digital world, there are a number of reasons to consider an SSL certificate for your website. SSL is the acronym for “secure socket layer.” A SSL acts to protect information by encrypting sensitive content transferred from computer to computer on its way to the destination server. Without encryption, data such as names, contact information, and even credit card numbers for transactions would be visible across servers. The impact SSL has on your the search engine ranking may also prove important.

SSL May Affect Rankings

In the last year, Google has asserted that there may be a negative impact for sites that are not secured with an SSL certificate. Page rank is undoubtedly important. This is how potential customers find your business. It is unknown how big of an impact the SSL factor will make according to the Google algorithm, but it is difficult to justify ranking lower because your site is unsecure even if the rest of your SEO strategy is solid.

Trust for SSL for eCommerce

If your site accepts or plans to accept major credit cards as a form of payment, many will require you to establish a merchant account. These accounts will often require a SSL certificate. If your site accepts payment only through a third party such as Paypal or a a built in secure service, a SSL is not required to protect that information. Potential consumers are less likely to purchase from sites that are not secure. Bounce rate (amount of time spent on a site) also contributes to a website’s SEO. Recent studies show that 84 percent of consumers will abandon a purchase if it is sent over an unsecure system.

The Padlock Symbol

The padlock symbol that shows up in the URL box can be very important. It tells your customers that it is safe to interact with your website. As a business owner, it is a great idea to collect information about your potential customers. This can help establish a consumer demographic and even monitor purchasing trends. Having an email address for those same people is also helpful. That being said, the information is not meant to be shared with strangers.

Determining if You Need SSL on Your Website

There are a few situations where you may not need SSL on your website. If your site is for blogs only and you do not obtain any information from your readers, SSL should not be a priority. For a lot of websites this is not the case. Keep in mind that if you and your competitor have very similar websites, the one with the SSL certificate will rank higher.

If you are still not sure if having a SSL certificate is the right move for you, contact the digital marketing professionals at Tree Ring Digital and we can discuss the SSL in the context of your specific website.