“All major internet traffic is going to be encrypted very, very soon.”
This is what Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, said during his keynote speech at IP Expo Europe in 2015. Securing your website is no longer a “nice to have” in 2021—end-to-end encryption is now a “must have” with TLS or SSL certificate. Not only do these certificates create a safe, trustworthy experience for your users, but it is now a necessity for your website to reach higher ranks on search engines. Not sure what search engine optimization (SEO) is? Wingman Direct Marketing covers SEO and search engine marketing (SEM) extensively in our 4-part blog series. You can read part 1 here.
But what are SSL and TLS certificates, anyway? Is there a difference between the two? What role does HTTPS play in this and why does this matter to your company?
What is HTTPS, SSL and TLS?
Have you experienced this notification when browsing a website?
This pop-up notifies the user that this website is not secured from one point to another. When a user provides sensitive information to an unsecured website, it is possible the information is intercepted and stolen by attackers, known as a man-in-the-middle attack.
SSL and TLS protect against this type of attack by encrypting the information while in transit to the recipient. SSL, which stands for secure sockets layer, was the first protocol developed by Netscape in 1994. Version 3.0 was the final version released by Netscape back in November of 1996 and contained several commonly known vulnerabilities. Its successor, TLS (transport layer security), patches SSL vulnerabilities with ongoing support and is what the Internet predominantly uses today. Using an SSL or TLS certificate as part of your framework is what offers a website HTTPS, or a secure version of HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).
It is important to always check your browser to see if the website you are entering is secured. To find out if the website you are browsing is secure, locate the address bar. If you can see a lock or if the URL starts with https:// instead of http://, then the website has end-to-end encryption. You’ll notice Wingman also has the lock and https:// behind our website!
Why It Matters
So why does this matter to you, your business, and your website?
- Improved Search Rankings: In May 2010, Google only encouraged websites to use HTTPS to help protect users from third parties intercepting search terms on a user’s network. 4 years later, Google announced that HTTPs will be considered a ranking signal to ensure surfing the Internet is safer for all. That’s right—a secure website improves search rankings. Most, if not all, page 1 searches are found to have a secure website. To see for yourself, simply type in any keyword into Google search. You’ll find that every website on page 1 search results has https:// instead of http://.
- Protect Your Users’ Information: Data breaches are extremely common in today’s digital age. In 2018, the information from 500 million guests from Marriott hotel chain were collected in a cyberattack. Also in that same year, Cambridge Analytica was found to have scraped as many as 87 million user profiles from Facebook to gain voter insight during Trump’s political campaign. By including a TLS certificate on your website, you protect your users’ information from another potential threat.
- Retain Users’ Trust: In a study done by GlobalSign, it was found that 84% of users would abandon a purchase from a website if the user found the data would be sent over an insecure connection. With an insecure website, you could be losing potential customers from a very simple fix.
It is SEO table stakes to provide a secure website to your users in 2021. Creating a secure website makes the internet safer for everyone and provides your business its own perks such as competitive search rankings and potentially improved sales.
Haven’t built a website yet or need an TLS certificate for your website? Wingman has years of extensive experience building elegant, lightweight websites that are easily found through search engines (SEO). A well-designed website converts leads to sales and TLS certificates are a part of those results. Book a Wingman to start building your website today!