A Look Ahead at December

A Look Ahead at December

Website Functionality Content Series

Next month, we’ll be discussing what makes a website successful.  Our new e-Book, which will be released on Dec. 1, is on website functionality and covers steps you can take to improve both your website and the experience that visitors will have on it.  Each week after that, we’ll be diving into the details of what exactly website functionality means and practical tips you can use for your website.  Here’s a sneak peek:

  • December 5th: Converting Leads into Clients
  • December 12th: Intro to Google Analytics
  • December 19th: SEO and Website Functionality
  • December 26th: Best Practices for Website Functionality

If you’re already on our mailing list, you’ll automatically receive your copy of the e-book when it’s released, as well as get notifications when each of the blogs go live.  If not, click the link below to get signed up!

SSL’s are No Longer an Optional Add-On

SSL’s are No Longer an Optional Add-On

When we wrote our e-book that was released a few weeks ago, we mentioned that Google’s emphasis on SSL in their rankings would only continue to increase. In the last two months, we’ve seen a major shift in the way Google is handling websites that don’t have SSL certificates installed. Here are the highlights:

– Every non-SSL secured website has officially been logged and flagged in Google Chrome.  Every single one.  What this means is that if your website does not have an SSL certificate installed, a box that says “not secure” comes up next to your web address in the address bar.  And while it may not seem like an issue if a user isn’t using Chrome, other browsers such as Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer have begun to follow suit as well.

– Non-SSL secured websites are now dropping off of Google’s search results, and it may be due to visitors, not Google directly. That “not secure” flag can cause visitors to leave your website shortly after visiting or once they notice the warning. Both of these factors (“bounce” rates and time spent on your website” are major factors in Google’s ranking algorithms that will lower your website in the rankings, slowly at first, but gaining speed as more and more users establish this pattern.

– To tie this in with our SEO blog from last week, Google is also ramping up their focus on the content quality of websites. Specifically, the EAT principles (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). They’re now placing an emphasis on websites that have very apparent contact information, a privacy policy and terms of service, and share links to other websites and vice versa. Google is now looking at website content and checking to see if: 1) the content is authentic, 2) the content is accurate, and 3) the content is trust-worthy (this is where having other websites link to yours comes in).

While that last one doesn’t deal specifically in SSL, it was a big enough change that we thought it warranted throwing it in here for your consideration. As you can see, Google is making massive changes in how they view and rank websites, and SSL is at the core of it. It’s no longer an optional add-on; it’s a necessity if you want your website to be seen by others.

SEO & SSL

SEO & SSL

Why SSL should matter to me if I want to be ranked on the first page of Google?

 

As with many things related to website search engine optimization (SEO), the answer comes back to Google. There are many search engines out there to choose from, but Google is the top choice and has been for the last decade. What that means for your website and your SEO practices is that if you’re wanting to boost your rankings in web searches, you have to follow Google’s lead.

In 2014, Google announced that they would have an increased focus on websites that use SSL and HTTPS encryption as part of their dedication to provide safe, secure websites to users in their searches (SSL and HTTPS work hand in hand to provide top notch security for websites).

Google stated that having a website with SSL would have little to no effect on SEO practices, as it would only use it as a tie-breaker between two websites that ranked the same in listings. However, in the last few years, there has been a small, almost imperceptible shift in rankings towards websites that use SSL encryption, as well as hints dropped by Google executives that that shift will only continue to grow in the upcoming months and years. In plain language, it is now very important that your website has an SSL, and it will only continue to increase as time goes on.

Today, 60% of all first-page Google results are SSL-encrypted websites. Internet browsers now show a glaring red X next to the website name in the address bar if a website is not SSL-encrypted. Chrome and Safari take it one step further by giving you an error message whenever you click to follow an un-encrypted link, warning you that the website is not SSL-encrypted and your data is vulnerable. In some cases, based on your security settings, it will prevent you from even accessing or seeing the page itself.

That fact alone has changed how website design and SEO are viewed today. A few years ago, you’d often only see SSL-secure seals on websites that offered products or had an online store. Today, you’ll notice more and more of those seals on non-commerce websites. In the last month, I’ve come across them on blogs, news websites, and even Wikipedia. Even if you aren’t selling anything and provide only information on your website, Google no longer views a distinction between informational websites and commercial websites. Their sole focus is on the visitor’s security, and in order to have a chance at good rankings and keep them, you’ll need to as well.

Editor’s note

In the month since this blog post was written, we have seen another push by Google towards an SSL-only future: websites without an SSL have started dropping from Google search results.  This is a huge change, as it is no longer a tie-breaker, but rather a mandatory requirement if you want to stay in the race.  

Choosing an SSL Certificate

Choosing an SSL Certificate

How to Choose the SSL Certificate That’s Right for You

 

Today, let’s talk about the different types of SSL certificates and how to decide which one is right for your website.

There are three main types of SSL certificates:

  • Domain Validation (DV)
  • Organization Validation (OV)
  • Extended Validation (EV)

All three types give you the full range of SSL security for the most part. The main difference between them is based on the process used to issue the certificate, which is often an indicator of how seriously the purchaser of the certificate is about your security when visiting their websites.

 

Domain Validation

– What it is: A domain validation certificate is just that: an SSL certificate that has been verified by a Certificate Authority that the domain has been confirmed to match the owner’s information. Basically, that the domain is who they say they are and the purchaser of the certificate has been verified to be the owner of the website you are visiting.

– What it gives you: With a DV SSL, you will receive the SSL security seal to use on your website, as well as the padlock in the address bar of website browsers. These certificates are quite easy to purchase and you can often have the certificate installed on the same day.

– Who typically purchases these: These certificates are the cheapest ones on the market. The majority of customers that purchase these are small business owners that either don’t receive a large amount of traffic to their site or have a small client base, such as local businesses that do much of their business in person. Informational sites are also frequent purchasers of DV SSL, as their websites don’t deal with private information.

– Drawbacks: The main downside to a DV certificate is that when you go to the padlock in the address bar to find out more information about the company that purchased the certificate, you’ll find that there is none. All a DV certificate provides is proof that the domain matches the owner. While this is not an issue to most, tech-savvy visitors to the website may be a little concerned about the lack of information of the company behind the certificate. Since it is the cheapest SSL certificate to purchase, they may wonder if the company chose DV due to it matching their business needs, or if they’re running a scam and bought the DV to make it appear legitimate.

 

Organization Validation

– What it is: As you may have guessed, an OV certificate means that the Certificate Authority has not only verified the domain that purchased it, but also the organization behind it as well. This process includes running the names of the owners of the organization through several different government databases to make sure nothing is fishy. The organization itself is also run through the same process to ensure everything is on the up-and-up.

– What it gives you: Visitors to your website will now be able to see details about the SSL certificate, such as who purchased it, which Certificate Authority issued it, how long the certificate is valid for, and other details.

– Who typically buys these: Businesses that are looking to provide their customers with peace of mind about their security on their site often purchase these. Again, while the security is basically the same, these certificates give visitors more details to peruse, essentially pulling back the curtain and letting them see more information about how the certificate was obtained and validated. Small to medium size businesses often purchase these, and their client base often extends beyond a local range.

– Drawbacks: These certificates will be a little more on the pricier side and the process to obtain one takes a little longer, due to the vetting process behind it.

 

Extended Validation

– What it is: EV certificates are, you guessed it, certificates that go above and beyond. All of the security checks of DV and OV certificates are used, as well as additional checks that require detailed information about the business that is then verified. It also requires a physical address for the business to ensure that the purchaser of the certificate is an actual company with a brick and mortar base of operations.

– What it gives you: Holders of these certificates will have the tell-tale sign of an all-green address bar. This is SSL’s way of making it obvious that this website takes your security very seriously.

– Who typically buys these: Organizations make up almost all of the purchases of EV certificates, such as banking and financial institutions, or any organization that deals with a significant client base and a large amount of personal and private data.

– Drawbacks: This is easily the highest price point of SSL certificates, and it can take several days to obtain one due to all of the security checks involved. Aside from that, however, there are no drawbacks. This is the highest level of SSL security you can find.

 

CHECK OUT OUR FREE E-BOOK:

To learn more about the importance of SSL for your website, we have released our first e-book, How to Improve Your Search Rankings with SSL. If this sounds interesting to you, simply plug in your email address in the form below. You’ll be added to our mailing list and will receive the first e-book, as well as be notified when the next blogs and e-books are published. We look forward to taking this journey with you!

New Content Series + Free E-book

New Content Series + Free E-book

New Content Series + Free E-book

We are excited to announce a regular series of free, original marketing resources and guides! Each month, we will be releasing a new e-book that covers a different aspect of marketing and how it can be applied to help grow and sustain your business. We will also be launching a blog that will feature posts that dive into the details of important aspects of each e-book topic.

 

How to Improve Your Search Rankings with SSL

To start off our series, we have released our first e-book, How to Improve Your Search Rankings with SSL. In this content series, we’ll be taking a look at what makes websites secure and the top player in the market: SSL. We’ll discuss why it is vitally important to the success of your business, as well as provide you with a brief overview of SSL and the different types of it, how to choose, purchase, and install SSL on your website, and how having SSL can actually help grow your business.

If this sounds interesting to you, simply plug in your email address in the form below. You’ll be added to our mailing list and will receive the first e-book, as well as be notified when the next blogs and e-books are published. We look forward to taking this journey with you!

 

 

Request the free e-Book: