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    We’ve all seen it: the bright red exclamation point or a red lock icon. Today, we define the issue, give you some options and send you on your secure, merry way.

    Defining SSL (secure socket layer) Certificates:

    These are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Any computer in between you and a server can see your credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, and other sensitive information if it is not encrypted with a secure socket layer, or SSL, certificate. When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending the information to and yourself. 

    Why it matters to your business, your customers:

    Not too long ago, Google announced that switching a website over to the HTTPS (the S stands for secure) protocol would give it a small boost in ranking. Let’s start by asking a few questions; why would Google rather HTTPS for SEO rankings? And what are the benefits of using HTTPS for SEO? It should also be noted that there are a few concerns regarding SEO and changing an HTTP website to HTTPS.

    The secure hypertext transfer protocol (HTTPS) was developed in order to allow authorization and completely secure transactions. The exchange of confidential information must be secure in order to prevent access from unauthorized sources. HTTPS makes this possible. In a number of ways, HTTPS is the same as HTTP because it follows the same most basic protocols. The HTTP or HTTPS client, like a web browser, will establish a connection to a server on a standard port. But the HTTPS will provide enhanced protection because it uses SSL to surround the data. To put it simply, HTTPS is simply the secure version of HTTP.

    It should be a surprise to nobody that Google favors websites that are trusted, secure, and certified. This is because users can know that the website will encrypt their information for the added level of security. But users should understand that getting a certificate can be quite an involved process, which is why it allows for higher ranking benefits. Not just anyone can have a certificate for their website.

    It is quite clear that HTTPS offers security that many Internet users ask for and even demand, so it is absolutely the way to go if you would like your website to be favored by Google. Aside from that, there are some additional benefits for SEO that should be considered.

    Increased rankings is the obvious one. As noted, Google confirmed the small ranking boost of sites using HTTPS. Like many ranking signals, it is difficult to isolate on its own, but it is definitely something to keep in mind. On a positive note, the value of switching to HTTPS may increase over time.

    HTTPS will add privacy and security to a website and SEO goals through: verification of the website that it is the right one on the server, preventing tampering by third parties, making the website more secure for visitors, and encrypting all communication like URLs, which in turn protects things like credit card numbers and browsing history.

    What can you do today to make sure you have the extra layer of security?

    Start by checking your website with this free SSL Checker. Simply plug in the URL of your website into the search box and know instantly if your site is secure. 

    If your website has correctly installed an SSL Certificate, you’ll get a green check and you can rest easy.

    If not, contact your website provider to find out what your options are.

    For any FootSteps Marketing client whose website is on our former platform, Business Catalyst, you will see that your site is not secure and will remember that we’ve been alerting you of this issue for over a year.  That being said, there is still plenty of time to fix your security issues. Simply contact our Client Care Specialist and let him know you’re interested in securing your website.

    In general, it’s a simple fix and a nominal purchase. To learn more, contact us today! 


    And, as always, feel free to watch any or all of our monthly webinars, posted the third Tuesday of each month on our Webinars page