J Allerton

Do SSL Certificates Affect SEO?

Joshua Allerton
February 22, 2023

Google ranks websites with SSL certificates higher than those without. The digital certificates protect users from potential hackers and helps verify your brand. With security and trust on the table, we explain all in this blog.

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate encrypts data sent between your browser and a website server. At the same, it authenticates the identity of a website.

The digital certificate:

  • safeguards online transactions
  • protects private data (such credit card numbers)
  • Offers secure browsing for website users.

A URL with an SSL certificate starts with "https" as oppsed to "http" for non-secure websites. The padlock icon also appears in the browser's address bar.

Website address bar showing the SSL padlock and https:// protocol

You get SSL certificates from a Certificate Authority (CA) or from hosting providers. They come in different types, including free, paid, wildcard, and more.

How SSL certificates affect SEO

Google prioritises websites that are secure and trustworthy. As an SSL is a solid way to prove that, Google introduced the certificate as a ranking factor in 2014. This means websites with SSL certificates are more likely to rank higher than those without.

It's like handing your money over to a bank that has no security. Everyone sees the vault's door wide open and nothing is being done about it. You don't deposit any more because you don't know if it'll be here tomorrow.

That's what a website without an SSL certificate looks like. If you're not going to protect your users, Google isn't going to take the risk with you either.

Having an SSL certificate is the bank locking the vault and having armed guards. There may be an attempt at robbery, but you're confident the guards will keep your money safe. The SSL does similar by encrypting the data. Everyone can see there's data going between the site and you, but no-one can read it.

Google likes that - and so do your customers.

How much does SSL affect SEO?

SSL certificates are ranking factors. But it isn't going to be one change that will get you on page 1. Imagine SSL as a checklist, like an ID for a nightclub. It'll get you in the door, but it won't be the reason why you'll have a good night.

SSL certificates builds trust

SSL certificates protect against phishing scams. The hacker creates a fake website and tries to disguise as a reputable brand. By looking legit, customers fall for it and the hackers steal their credit card details.

The padlock icon put customers at ease. Not only do they trust you're the legit brand, they also know their data is safe.

Conversions don't impact SEO. But an SSL certificate can make the difference between traffic and conversion. You can rank on the top spot for your keywords, but users back peddle when they don't see that padlock icon.

SSL certificates build user trust and confidence. Getting one can help them buy from your website with confidence.

Types of SSL certificates

Website owners can choose from several types of SSL certificates. The cost of the certificate is impacted by the level of validations and number of domains covered. Website owners should consider their specific needs and budget when choosing an SSL certificate.

Overall, regardless of which type of SSL certificate a website owner chooses, simply having an SSL certificate boosts website security and SEO.

Not sure which type of SSL certificate to choose? Consult with an SEO professional or web developer.

Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificate

This is most basic type of SSL certificate. It verifies that the website owner controls the domain but doesn't verify any additional information about the website owner or their organization. DV certificates are typically the least expensive and easiest to obtain.

Organisation Validated (OV) SSL Certificate

An OV SSL certificate verifies not only that the website owner controls the domain but also additional information about the organisation, such as its name and location. OV certificates are more expensive and take longer to obtain than DV certificates.

Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate

Need the highest level of security? This certificate is for you. It verifies not only that the website owner controls the domain and has an organisation but also verifies the organisations legal and physical existence. EV certificates are the most expensive and take the longest to obtain.

Wildcard SSL Certificate:

A wildcard SSL certificate allows a website owner to secure all subdomains of a single domain with a single certificate. For example, if a website has multiple subdomains such as blog.example.com and shop.example.com, a wildcard SSL certificate would cover both of these subdomains.

Multi-Domain SSL Certificate:

A multi-domain SSL certificate allows a website owner to secure multiple domains with a single certificate. For example, if a website owner has several related websites such as example.com, example.net, and example.org, they can use a multi-domain SSL certificate to secure all of these domains with a single certificate.

How to get an SSL certificate

There are several ways to get an SSL certificate, including:

  1. From a Certificate Authority (CA)
  2. Get a free SSL certificate from a provider like Let's Encrypt.
  3. From your web hosting provider

Once bought, you'll need to install the certificate on your website. Most hosting providers will manage this for, so there's no need to stress. You select your certificate and choose the domain.

After installing the SSL certificate, test it to ensure that it's working. It can take up to 72 hours, but it's usually quicker.

Here's a few ways to test:

  • Does https://yourdomain work?
  • Does the padlock appear in your address bar?
  • Use SSL Server Test from Qualys SSL Labs

Note: you'll need to sort redirects from http:// -> https://. Google sees these as two separate web pages. Don't risk duplicate content to penalise you.

Next steps

Obtaining and installing an SSL certificate can seem daunting. But, it's essential for every website owner to do. It helps secure your site from potential hackers and builds trust with your users.

Google rewards you too.

If you're a small business owners who doesn't even know where to being, don't hesitate to reach out. We don't want customers running away from a easy fix.

J Allerton
The vegan that convinces everyone to try.
Join me on social media
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram