It was in September last year that Google announced its decision to mark HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure, on its Chrome browser. The announcement stated- “Historically, Chrome has not explicitly labeled HTTP connections as non-secure. Beginning in January 2017 (Chrome 56), we’ll mark HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure.”
So that’s it, any website that has passwords or credit card forms and is not secured with an SSL certificate would show as “not secure” (in red letters) on the Chrome browser. Well, most of us would have been under the impression that only e-commerce websites need SSL certificates, which however is not the truth. Let’s take a look at what SSL certificates are and how they serve SEO purposes…
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What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer Certificate) secures a website by ensuring that any communication that occurs between the user/web browser and web site/web server remains encrypted. Proper encryption (and decryption) of messages transmitted between a browser and a server is thus ensured and this prevents data breach by hackers, which they do by using malware. All traffic between a website user and the website server is thus rendered secret and secure.
How does an SSL Certificate work?
An SSL Certificate works in a systematic manner; the process is a multi-step one, starting with a browser attempting to connect to an SSL-secured website. Following this, the browser asks the website server to identify itself, which it does with a copy of its SSL certificate.
If the browser trusts the certificate, that message is sent to the website server, which then sends a digitally signed acknowledgment to commence an encrypted session. From then on, everything is encrypted and secure.
What kinds of websites need SSL certificates?
We do come across many people who express a seemingly genuine doubt. They would want to ask as to why they need SSL protection if they don’t take or make payments through their websites. The answer is simple. An insecure website could pave the way for a malware to enter your system/network/server and thus any hacker would be able to access any information (including login credentials that you use or save on your system, email etc) and cause serious losses/damages to you.
A hacker could even gain access to any other device- smartphone, tablet etc- that you’d connect to the system or network or on which your website is accessed, by any user. Thus, a website that’s not secured with SSL certificate could cause lots of damages. There are some other benefits of using these certificates. For example, a website secured with SSL certificate would have a little padlock on the address bar that is an indicator of the website’s security.
Customers can rest assured that their information is safe and this helps a company earn reputation and trust. Similarly, SSL certificates are issued only after proper verification. Thus phishing websites won’t be having SSL security. So, it can be said that SSL certificates protect users against phishing attacks as well.
SSL Certificate and SEO
SSL certificate helps a website on the SEO side too. Any website would perform better on search engines if it’s SSL-secured. Even the Google search engine prefers HTTPS websites over the HTTP ones. Similarly secured websites would attract more traffic and thus rank better in search results.