Learn why security is so important for your website’s SEO and why every website needs an SSL security certificate if they want to be taken seriously as a brand.
How much does security affect your SEO? Much more than most website owners realize. Google indexes SSL certificates, which means that they’re always aware about the security status of your website.
Google has also confirmed that they give higher rank to websites with strong HTTPS encryption than their HTTP counterparts.
Important: since 2018 websites that have not switched to HTTPS are marked as unsafe in Google Chrome. This is a big deal. Not only will the search engines punish you, but your users will also associate your brand with danger — not good!
Security also increases the chance that other people and websites will link to you, which also affects SEO. I for one only link to HTTPS sites.
How do you know if a website is secure?
Look for websites that have the green lock icon to the left of the web address in your browser. That means that the website has a certificate that proves the website's identity to the browser.
Although this is not a 100% guarantee of safety, the green lock icon is a good indicator of a website that takes security seriously.
Check Google’s connection security help page for more info.
What does HTTPS do?
When a website uses HTTPS it means that they encrypt sensitive data (like credit card info) that travels between their website and their users’ devices.
HTTPS adds a layer of protection that makes it harder for online thieves to steal your information. HTTPS is not a guarantee of 100% safety. There are many other factors involved. But it’s a good indicator.
I will never, ever, use my credit card on a website that doesn’t use HTTPS, and I suggest you do the same.
Don’t link to non-HTTPS sites
Websites that use HTTPS will often have that green lock (secure) icon you saw earlier, when you visit their website, but not always.
If you link from your site to sites that don’t use HTTPS, then the web browser will remove the safe icon on your own website (from the page/post you’re linking from, not your entire website) even though you use HTTPS because you are directing your audience to an unsafe site.
That’s no fun!
Why risk sending your audience to unsafe websites?
We know that using HTTPS on your own website boosts SEO on Google. It would also make sense if only linking to secure websites benefits you SEO wise, considering Google’s own security principles.
Security improves page speed & SEO
Most website owners don’t know that having a secure website will also give you a speed boost. Troy Hunt, a security expert, and one of my favorite tech writers, has an excellent article about the importance of HTTPS. Hunt also has a great article about how having a secure server improves page speed.