You are very careful. You never say your social security number out loud on the phone. You make sure to cover the number pad when entering your PIN. You check if your front door is locked exactly 57 times before leaving for work (ok maybe that’s just me). Why not return the same courtesy to your website, and the people who visit it?
SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layers, is like your digital guardian angel. It protects you and visitors to your site. It makes sure the connection between your browser and a website’s server is legit. When you are about to enter your credit card information on a site, or a potential buyer is filling out a credit application, seeing the https:// with a lock in the URL (?) makes everyone feel a lot safer. In fact, websites that deal with an abundance of sensitive information such as financial institutions, retail sites, and government sites, are secure with SSL.
I know what you’re thinking. “I sell cars. Most of the information on my site isn’t sensitive.” Oh ok then, nevermind.
JUST KIDDING! There are many reasons you and your site’s visitors can benefit from an SSL integrated site. Let’s talk about some of them.
Today’s hackers aren’t just looking for credit card or personal identification data. Your location, IP Address, audio, and even webcam are now vulnerable. Secure sites have three different elements that protect your visitors and your website: data integrity, encrypted data, and authentication.
- Data Integrity makes sure the data transmitted cannot be corrupted or modified during transit.
- Encrypted data is data is sent via an encrypted code that would make The Da Vinci Code look like child’s play. In the unlikely event data integrity is compromised, it’s worthless without the key, which only you have.
- Authentication makes sure that the server your customer is communicating with is indeed the one they intended. It eliminates the “man in the middle” attacks, or effective eavesdropping. Your customers aren’t tricked into thinking they are providing information to you when they are actually talking to a scammer. Having an HTTPS site fosters trust in consumers which, in turn, fosters trust in your brand.
Browsers want it!
The main job of web browsers is to grab content from servers and deliver the content back via HTML so that consumers can view and utilize websites or apps on our devices. During the process of delivering this content, the browser collects a lot of data about the user. This can include, but is not limited to, the user’s IP address, geography, device type, timestamp, HTTP referral, sound, and video. Since this data is so personal, many of the popular browsers will not allow websites to collect much of it unless they reside on a secure HTTPS.
Google recently called for HTTPS Everywhere at their Google I/O conference, then started testing secure sites within their search ranking algorithm.
“We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.” — Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes, Google
Our very own Joe Chura, CEO of Dealer Inspire, believes that the insignificant result is simply due to the fact that not many sites are using HTTPS. Since Google’s primary goal is to deliver the best answer for a search inquiry, they’re going to show sites with the best answer regardless of security level. However, as sites become more secure, security will become a bigger and bigger factor in search results.
Another benefit we should see soon is that referrals from trusted secure sites will be attributed to the correct source. If you’ve noticed an uptick in direct traffic, it’s not necessarily because visitors are typing your URL directly into the search bar. It may be because when a referral comes from an SSL website to a non-SSL website the http referral is omitted. Therefore, it all falls under “direct”. The direct bucket in almost all analytics tools plays double duty, like a lost and found area. If Google Analytics doesn’t know where the data should be placed, it goes in the direct bucket.
Lock It Up
The web is ever-growing with a staggering amount of data being passed back and forth. That data needs to be protected from black hat opportunists who would use it for nefarious reasons. Even data that seems innocuous at first — such as location, email, and audio — can be used to steal identities and sensitive information. If your site is secure, you are trusted by everyone: your customers, business allies, web servers, and Google. Give Dealer Inspire a shout if you’re ready to lock it up .