Google says: You’re going to need an SSL Certificate

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First it was the requirement to have mobile-friendly designs. Now Google is requiring websites to have an SSL Certificate.

Let’s face it: no one asks, “have you search engined it?” People instead wonder if you’ve “Googled” something in order to find an appropriate website. While there are other search engines, the gold standard is Google. And when the company says a website has to have something or your website won’t be seen as a valuable website, you’d better get it.

If you don’t already have an SSL certificate, get it quickly. As of the end of 2017, Google began flagging sites that do not have this security step in place.

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL is an acronym for (Secure Sockets Layer). A digital certificate authenticates that this standard security technology is used to establish an encrypted link between a browser and a web server.  Encryption scramble data into an undecipherable format that can only be read with the proper decryption key.

This assures that when a user visits your site, all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.  SSL Certificates contain following information:

  • Name of the certificate holder
  • Serial number and expiration date
  • Copy of the certificate holder’s public key
  • Digital Signature of the certificate-issuing authority

When a user attempts to send confidential information — such as a credit card number — from the website to the web server, the browser accesses the server's digital certificate and then establishes a secure connection.

Without the SSL certificate, a secure connection cannot be established and your company information will not be digitally connected to a cryptographic key.

Why do you need an SSL Certificate?

As previously mentioned, at the end of 2017, Google will flag two-thirds of the Internet as unsafe. Many of the top sites are secure, but there are others that are not.

If a website does not have a SSL Certificate and the URL of the site does not include the “S” to read https://, then it will be flagged and users will be warned of the unsecure site. (While it’s not happening immediately, Google won’t just allow those “http” sites to go unmarked. Chrome will label them with a red triangle to draw further attention to the fact that the website is unsecure.)

With the release of Google Chrome version 62, websites that have any kind of text input will need an SSL certificate. Thus, you need an SSL Certificate if your company’s website has one or more of the following:

  • Login panel or field to collect a password
  • Search bar
  • Contact form
  • Field to collect credit card information

Beyond Google’s requirement, having an SSL Certificate is beneficial because it encrypts information and protects you from cyber criminals who have become more clever and creative about hacking into systems. Moving forward, having the certificate will immediately demonstrate your site is one that can be trusted.  A green lock icon will appear in the browser to assure your site is secure. This trust helps boost your brand.

Take a quick look at your website’s URL. Remember, simply having http:// (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is an unsafe language. Instead, you must have https:// (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) as a safe way to pass information without unauthorized parties to observe the communication between the computing device and website.

How to get an SSL Certificate

SSL Certificates are available from many locations, but you must obtain one from a Certificate Authority (CA).  Begin analyzing your business needs to make the best choice. Consider the following:

  • How many domains do you need to secure?
  • What type of website do you need to secure?
  • How much security is needed for the information you collect?

There are a number of different SSL certificates to choose from and each offers various levels of trust. These include:

  • Domain validation certificates
  • Organization validation certificates
  • Extended validation certificates
  • Single-name SSL certificates
  • Wildcard SSL certificates
  • Unified SSL certificates
  • Multi-Domain SSL certificates
  • SAN certificates

Prices also vary depending on the type of certificate. Yes, it is possible to acquire an SSL certificate for free, however, as a every good business owner should know, you often get what you pay for when something is free. Be cautious when looking into such offers.

If you’re unclear about your needs, help is available. At Talent Evolution, we understand the need for website security and can assist with the SSL Certificate to fit your business website needs. Just give us a call.  

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About the Author:

John Walker

John Walker, Co-founder of Talent Evolution and Chief Solutions Officer, has more than 20 years of online marketing expertise in social media, mobile, video and viral campaigns. He has a strong background in digital capabilities including Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC).