Should You Add An SSL Certificate To Your Website?

ssl encryption for google

The Answer May Not Be “Yes” Just Yet, But It Will Be Soon.

Secure-socket layer encryption (SSL) is nothing new for websites: since the early days of the internet in the late-nineties any respectable website that took personal information from you (i.e. payment information, login info, etc.) would use SSL encryption to help protect your information from malicious eavesdroppers.

But there has a recent trend towards a mostly SSL-encrypted internet.

Google has moved to add SSL to their Google searches, encrypting all of your Google searches so that no one can eavesdrop on what you’re searching for (except for Google). If you’re a webmaster and have a Google analytics account, you may have noticed that most of your web traffic’s incoming keywords are placed under “not provided”. This is because Google no longer wants to share what people are searching for anymore.

And with Google’s recent statements, they may be wanting the entire internet to follow in their footsteps.

At a recent even Google engineers let it slip that whether a website is SSL-encrypted has become a ranking signal in Google’s algorithm.

ssl encryption for google

How Much Do SSL Certificates Even Cost?

Generally they cost around $60 per year. With GoDaddy (if you use a coupon code) you can get a standard SSL for thirty dollars per year.
There are free ones, but many web hosts don’t allow you to use 3rd party SSL certificates.

My Websites Don’t Take or use any Customer Information. Should I still use it?

The answer is yes, for two reasons:

  1. Google has said that it still strengthen the signal over time, which means that you can get ahead of the curve now before the curve starts to work against you. And
  2. Website visitors report “feeling safer” when they see that green lock in their address bar. It’s purely psychological, but when you create a product (your website) for your customer, psychology is very important.

Can I Wait?

Yes, you can. There is no big rush, especially if you have the kind of website that has never needed one before. Google tends to use its all-powerful algorithm to try and encourage people to do things. A lot of those things (i.e. make youtube videos, google authorship, etc.) haven’t worked out and have been abandoned. So maybe this will go away. But in the meantime, if your website gets more visitors because of it…why not?

For More Reading On The Subject:

How Google’s New SSL Ranking Factor Works – Search Engine Land

Google Webmaster Blog

Use Cloudflare? This is a cool related article.

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