Recently Google announced that websites that incorporate an SSL Certificate will have ranking benefits in search results.
It’s something we recommend all sites should have, not only because of Google’s search results but also because of the security benefits.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. This provides a more secure environment for your users if they are required to enter sensitive data for a transaction or to sign up to something, as the data is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by third parties.
All sites should have one
SSL Certificates were usually only used for payment sections of e-commerce sites, banking and government sites dealing with sensitive user data. However now Google has said it will look favourably upon sites with an SSL installed, we recommend all sites should have one.
Why does Google like SSL Certificates?
It provides a signal within their algorithm that websites that include https:// are more safe and trustworthy than websites that do not include this. Over time it is likely that this factor will become more important and the benefits of having a secure certificate will get more and more powerful.
Why do people ignore security warnings when browsing the web?
Whilst writing this post I came across an interesting article asking why people ignore security warnings while browsing the web.
I use a computer for the majority of my working day and I must confess that I often ignore the messages that popup, either related to my computer or whilst browsing the web. I’m too interested in finishing a task or trying to find the information I’m looking for. It seems I’m not alone!
Google recently had to redesign the security warnings in its Chrome web browser because most people were ignoring them. Often, warnings describe what the problem is (“this site’s SSL certificate has expired!”) rather than what the consequences of continuing might be (“if you visit this site, it might infect your computer with malware that steals your bank details!”).
Google stripped out the technical terms (most users don’t know what a certificate is, they found), and reduced the reading level by simplifying the text. That included making the text as brief as possible, even if it meant sacrificing detail.
Even with these improvements, only 62% of users heeded the warnings and put themselves at risk.
My advice is to take the security of your site and your browsing more seriously because at some point it’s likely that it will affect you or your business!
Author: Corey Mackie
Corey's a creative and versatile designer who has specialised in web and multimedia design and construction for the last 15 years. Project management, client liaison and ensuring sites are user focussed are some of his key strengths.