The Importance of SSL Certificates for Search Engines
Search engines are the primary way that users interact with websites. In fact, research suggests that 53% of users will not recommend a website to friends unless it is indexed by search engines.
Search engine crawlers, commonly known as spiders or bots, are programs that execute complex algorithms to explore and catalog the structure of Internet sites. They read pages and index them based on pre-defined keywords.
With an HTTPS connection and SSL certificate installed, your website will have an additional layer of security so that confidential user data cannot be accessed by third parties. The benefits of implementing SSL extend far beyond simply keeping user information safe from prying eyes – they also have a direct impact on search engine rankings.
In this article, we’ll cover why and how search engines prefer SSL certificates for websites, along with some best practices for adopting them in your organization.
Table of Contents
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate used to secure websites and web applications. It’s an industry-standard method of safeguarding sensitive data and assets by encrypting communications between websites and end users.
SSL certificates are an essential part of website security and are used by businesses of all sizes to increase trust and enable user verification. SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer.”
A public key infrastructure (PKI) is used to encrypt data to be sent from one computer to another. To create a secure connection, the server must present a certificate to the client browser. The certificate verifies that the server is who it claims to be. Ideally, the server is a website for which you want to promote trust and minimize the risk of users abandoning their shopping carts.
In addition to the standard encryption features of SSL certificates, many providers also offer additional features such as multi-domain Wildcard SSL certificates, website security seals, and other marketing tools that can help improve user trust. These are a great option for websites looking to implement an SSL certificate without making any code changes.
Why are SSL Certificates Important for SEO?
When browsers make requests to websites, they do so “in the clear,” meaning they make no attempt to hide the data being sent. This could result in sensitive information being exposed to a third party. For example, if a user makes a reservation on a hotel’s website, their payment information is sent in plain text, meaning that third parties could potentially capture this information.
When a website uses an SSL certificate, the browser makes a request to the server with an HTTPS connection, which indicates that the browser has requested a secure connection. The server uses an SSL certificate to encrypt the data before transmitting it to the browser, thereby protecting it from prying eyes.
Types of SSL Certificates
While an SSL certificate is primarily used for security and encryption, it is further classified into six types. A website owner must be familiar with all types of certificates in order to determine which certificate is the best fit for the website while also being cost-effective.
1. Domain Validated Certificate (DV SSL)
The address bar only shows a padlock and HTTPS. They are widely utilized by blogs and informational websites that do not collect payment information. This type of certification requires only an email or phone call confirmation from the domain owner, and it provides less assurance.
2. Organization Validated Certificate (OV SSL)
Most commercial and public-facing websites protect the privacy of users’ personal information. Although it uses the same validation method as EV SSL and displays the website owner’s information in the address bar, this type is similar to it. It is the second-most expensive SSL certificate.
3. Extended Validation Certificate (EV SSL)
This is the most expensive and highly regarded SSL certificate, and it is typically used by large-scale and high-profile websites that collect sensitive consumer information and accept online payments.
When Extended Validation SSL certificate is installed, the browser displays a padlock, HTTPS, the business name, and the country name. When the website owner’s information is displayed in the address bar, the user can distinguish it from shady websites.
To obtain the EV SSL, the website owner must sign up for standardized identity verification and be legally authorized for exclusive domain rights.
4. Multi-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC)
A multi-domain SSL certificate simultaneously secures several domains and subdomains, including unique domains and subdomains with different TLDs.
Multi-domain certificates don’t support subdomains by default. You’d need to specify all domains when obtaining the certificate.
5. Wildcard SSL Certificates
Wildcard SSL certificates secure the base domain as well as an unlimited number of subdomains with a single certificate purchase. If you need to encrypt multiple subdomains, purchasing a cheap wildcard SSL certificate is a more cost-effective option than purchasing individual SSL certificates for each one.
Another option to think about is the Comodo Positive SSL Wildcard Certificate. This entry-level Wildcard certificate is part of the Positive SSL family and is perfect for protecting low-traffic websites with numerous sub-domains. Because Comodo Positive SSL Wildcard Certificate is a domain-validated SSL certificate, you won’t have to go through a laborious process of verifying a company’s legitimacy or any legal documentation. It will also be issued without any problems and within a few minutes.
Wildcard SSL certificates include an asterisk (*) in the name to represent subdomains with the same main domain. For example, a single Wildcard SSL certificate for *website can protect:
6. Unified Communications Certificate (UCC)
UCCs are also referred to as multi-domain certificates. Initially, they were intended to protect Microsoft Exchange and Live Communications servers. However, they can now be used by any website that wants to secure multiple domain names with a single SSL certificate.
UCCs are organizationally validated and display a padlock on a browser. They can also be used as EV SSL certificates to provide the highest level of encryption to visitors via the green address bar.
How do SSL Certificates Benefit SEO?
Increased user trust – As we mentioned above, SSL certificates promote user trust by providing a visual indicator that data is encrypted. 84% of users say they would be more likely to make a purchase from a website that has an SSL certificate, so it’s important for brands to implement them.
Improved rankings for HTTPS URLs – Google has announced that they will be giving more preference to HTTPS URLs over HTTP URLs in their search engine algorithm. This is because they want to promote secure browsing, and using HTTPS is one of the easiest ways to do that.
More clickable results – Google also made changes to their algorithm to make sure users are seeing more clickable results. They have decreased the space given to ads and are giving more space to organic results instead. When an SSL certificate is implemented, it is more likely that the website’s organic listing will be clickable than an ad.
Using HTTPS is a Must in 2023
To rank well in search engines, you need to optimize your website for both mobile and desktop. This includes implementing SSL certificates on all pages, updating your sitemap, and including valid HTML in your website code so that search engines can crawl and index your content more effectively.
Google has made it clear that HTTPS is now a ranking factor and has also updated their algorithm to push organic results that are more clickable. This means that if you have an HTTPS URL, it will likely be more clickable than an HTTP URL.
If you want your website to climb in the SERPs and convert more visitors into paying customers, you will need to implement an SSL certificate on your website and make sure you are redirecting all HTTP traffic to HTTPS. If you are not, you could be costing your business money in lost revenue and potential customers.
When it comes to securing your website, SSL certificates are an absolute must. They ensure that user data is encrypted and cannot be accessed by third parties, including search engine crawlers. In addition to protecting confidential information, SSL certificates also have a positive impact on search engine ranking. SSL certificates are an essential part of website security and are used by businesses of all sizes to increase trust and enable user verification. When it comes to securing your website, SSL certificates are an absolute must.