SEO for business is a common topic of discussion among small business owners and large eCommerce store owners nowadays. Owners are now learning some of the most valuable SEO ranking tips to boost their rankings in search engines.

But how can web security affect SEO? You might have already heard of SSL certificates. An SSL certificate, apart from providing encryption benefits to a website, also greatly impacts website SEO. If you wish to increase your visibility in search engines, you should buy an SSL certificate. This article examines why and how an SSL certificate is one of the most critical SEO ranking tips.

Lack of HTTPS Will Impact Google Ranking

In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS would be used as a ranking factor. The move was to ensure that website visitors are protected from privacy intrusions and other forms of cyber insecurities. Today, the lack of an SSL certificate could hurt your SEO rankings.

Anytime SEO is mentioned, all that comes to your mind is high rankings in search engine results pages. And Google is watching to ensure that only those websites with proper security protocols to protect their visitors’ sensitive information appear top in the SERPS.

Although most people feel that having an SSL certificate has minimal impact on website SEO, that is not the case. An SSL certificate is a tiebreaker in a situation where two or more websites have equaled in all other ranking factors. Therefore, you do not have an option but to get one if you wish to increase your visibility in search engines.

Most website owners claim that SSL certificates are too expensive and cannot afford to acquire a certificate for their site.

Most website owners claim that SSL certificates are too expensive and cannot afford to acquire a certificate for their site. However, with several cheap SSL certificate options, it comes across as a non-viable excuse for the non-acquisition of the certificate. You should not sacrifice high rankings and data security for the claims that SSL certificates are expensive.

Past studies seem to concur that HTTPS has a positive correlation with high rankings in search engines. Brian Dean partnered with SimilarWeb, MarketMuse SEMrush, and Ahrefs to analyze one million search results from Google. The study results revealed a moderate positive correlation between HTTPS and high rankings in search engine results pages. In a 2015 Moz study that targeted 17,600 keyword search results, there was a slight positive correlation between HTTPS URLs and high rankings.

From the above studies, it is crystal clear that, although SSL certificates’ primary role is to enhance website security by encrypting the in-transit data and communication, they also affect your rankings in search engines. This is no time for procrastination. You should rise to the occasion and acquire an SSL certificate for the sake of your website security and website SEO

Your Website May Get Blacklisted

If you are a victim of a data breach, direct monetary losses will not be the only repercussion that you will face. A security compromise to your website will negatively impact your SEO for business and attract heavy Google penalties.

Search engines usually blacklist those websites that have been affected by malware and other types of cyber-attacks. Such threats usually arise because a site lacks adequate security measures like SSL certificates. If your website is blacklisted, then you will not appear in search engines. It is also important to note that Google and other search engines are only blacklisting a portion of the affected websites. According to a recent report released by GoDaddy, only 90% of the infected websites were not flagged at all. This means that the website could continually be compromised without the operator’s knowledge, increasing the severity of the sanctions imposed by Google.

Even though your website might continually escape the wrath of search engine blacklists, it will still suffer from negative rankings. The injection of malware and viruses to a website can only have negative repercussions that negatively impact search engine rankings. Website owners should not rely on outward warnings from search engines to detect malware. That only creates a paradox that can be costly to solve. Search engine blacklists will terminate your website and obliterate your search engine rankings until your website is cleaned from malware and the Google penalties rescinded.

The saying “Prevention is better than cure” is relevant to this context. Vigilance in preventing cyber breaches and malware infections by having an SSL certificate could save you a lot of time and resources needed to take your website to the ranking levels it was before Google blacklisted it.

Your Website Will Lack User Experience

When website visitors attempt to browse an HTTP website, they receive a warning that visiting the site is not secure. Most users who meet this message will turn away from the website, increasing the website’s bounce rates. Thus, the lack of adequate and proper security measures on a website could be the major cause of the website’s high bounce rates.

With an SSL certificate on your website, you will earn your users’ trust. Trust is a critical pillar that plays a significant role in building a reputable brand and ensuring overall business success. It will help improve your website’s reputation by ensuring that your web visitors leave your website feeling satisfied and positive about the experience they had on the website. You can do this by acquiring an SSL certificate which is enough evidence that your website connection is secure.

Ignoring Website Security May Lead to SEO Spam

According to a GoDaddy Report, 73% of all hacked websites were targeted for spam purposes. Hackers load websites with spam to discourage legitimate website visitors from visiting the website, divert them to fake websites, and infiltrate them with malware and viruses.

Usually, the attackers will leverage the existing network vulnerabilities and use SQL injections to obtain administrative access. These types of attacks can have devastating repercussions on a website. When Google notices the attack, it will blacklist the website and remove it from search engine rankings. The reputation of the website can also be damaged, leaving the business with irreparable damages. You can avoid such vulnerabilities by installing an SSL certificate.

Additionally, hackers can take advantage of unencrypted website texts to deface your web pages.  Although there are no direct Google penalties for website defacement, the way your website appears might impact the website bounce rates that will, in turn, ruin website rankings.

Final Thoughts

Google and other search engines are taking the issue of website security with a lot of weight. Google uses website security as a ranking factor to ensure that websites adhere to best security practices and protect visitors and their data. As a website owner, you should ensure that you get the proper security plugins, install an SSL certificate and implement other security measures. Doing so will increase your rankings in SERPS. Furthermore, you will build a reputable brand and establish a long-lasting relationship with your clients.

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