Google Ranking HTTPS Websites Higher in Search

You may have heard on the news over the last year plenty of articles about cyber security and keeping your details safe online. Well Google has been pushing for years that it wants all websites to become secure using encryption regardless of whether they take payment details or not, in a bid to keep web visitors safe. Google has also admitted that HTTPS (the secure version of HTTP) is now a ranking factor in it’s own search algorithm, so it’s not something you should ignore. This is a big change and one of the biggest since Google’s algorithm change to rank responsive websites higher in search for mobile visitors.

Aside from the search ranking effects for HTTPS, Google will soon display a ‘site not secure’ message or similar if it deems your website needs an SSL certificate (the service that encrypts this data) but doesn’t have one in place. This could put off potential visitors, affect your brand and harm sales.

So, how can you get ahead in Google’s new secure website search update? Well, first you need to consider costs. Dedicated SSL certificates are usually more expensive than domains, need renewing every year and without technical knowledge, can be difficult to setup with your domain and hosting if you’re not familiar with the process.

Let’s look at the benefits of a dedicated SSL certificate first. Having a secure website gives your users:

  • Peace of mind when browsing your website that they’re connection is safe.
  • Payments or personal details will be encrypted between their computer and your server using 2048-bit key encryption.
  • Browsers will display a ‘padlock’ symbol and sometimes a ‘Secure’ message with a green highlight in the address bar, giving extra peace of mind.
  • As the website owner, you will also get varying levels of insurance covering you for interception by the SSL certificate provider. Usually this starts with a minimum of $10,000 and of course the higher the payout the more you pay each year.

On the flip side, there are some important points to note about SSL certificates:

  • Having an SSL certificate on your website doesn’t necessarily secure it from hackers. Don’t forget to update your website frequently and adhere to all security protocols when handling sensitive data.
  • Your website will load ever so slightly slower. Encryption usually takes longer to process and therefore page speeds will be slightly longer. The added security will help improve peace of mind for users though.
  • You will need to change all URLs on your website to use the new HTTPS URL, otherwise you will get browser ‘mixed content’ warnings and your browser and possibly search engines won’t give an improved ranking.
  • Renew the SSL certificate every year or risk losing your secure website status. Forgetting to do so could also mean your website may not load correctly. Each certificate is uniquely generated and therefore needs to be reinstalled on renewal.

If setting up an SSL certificate on your website all sounds too complex, we can help you set it up and provide hosting as well as domain registration. We provide dedicated SSL security certificates and will ensure they’re fully configured with you website. We’ll even check for old URLs so you don’t get ‘mixed content’ errors in the browser. Contact us today if you need an SSL certificate or would like some general web design advice.



Design for Digital at Bath Business Expo

We had a fantastic show at Bath Business Expo on 16th March. It was great to meet current Bath clients and new prospective clients yesterday on our stand.

Our offer of a free SEO website health check to visitors was really appealing and we’re still busy creating them so please be patient. Don’t worry if you missed out either, you can get in contact with us until next Friday and we’ll be happy to offer you a free website health check when you quote ‘free SEO check’.

Bath Business Expo web design agency

A few mentions to some of the fantastic exhibitors we met on the day including:

Mogers Drewett – A superb solicitors firm for individuals and businesses. This Bath, Wells, Frome and Sherborne based law firm now offer surrogacy advice as well as a complete range of legal services, with a motto of ‘On your side. At your side’.

GO Get Organised – If you’re looking starting out in business and need to outsource your day-to-day office admin tasks all at a competitive rate, then Naomi and her team would be happy to help.

Richardson Swift – an established accountancy firm in the centre of bath dealing with everything from complicated tax issues to business planning. Get in touch with Debbie to help you demystify even the most taxing of accountancy tasks.

EventHalo – If you’re involved with events and considering providing an app to help promote and involve your audience, then you really need to check out EventHalo. Their ready made solution can be tailored to your business and is much more cost effective than developing your own.

So that gives you a little insight into the types of excellent businesses who exhibited with us at the Bath Expo yesterday. Don’t forget if you need an experienced, flexible web design agency in Bath we’re here to help. With our experience with major brands like Disney and Marvel we can bring the techniques and creative web design to SMEs. Please contact us if you have a WordPress web project you’d like a quote for.