More than two years ago, Google announced it began to use HTTPS as a very lightweight ranking signal in its search query algorithm. Today, Google’s ranking signal weight for websites with an SSL certificate is undisclosed, but their strong commitment to a future of little green locks in the address bar of every website indicates the importance of making this critical jump in website encryption now instead of later.

What is an SSL certificate, you ask?

Great question. SSL Certificates 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 (over port 443) and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

In other words, it encrypts communications between your browser and the website you’re visiting, ensuring that you (or your website visitors) are relatively safe from cyber attacks and other malicious online activity. You can identify the presence of this protocol by looking for the HTTPS (or the little green padlock icon) in your web browser address bar.

SSL protected website

Okay. But why SSL?

We’re not there yet, but secure web browsing through HTTPS is becoming the norm. Some day, every website will need HTTPS protocol. Every website we build now is protected with SSL. Your website should be protected too.

It’s free (or it can be).

Google and a host (pun intended) of other web hosting and web security companies are sponsoring Let’s Encrypt, a free, automated, and open SSL certificate authority. And to make installation easier, many web host providers provide a one-click integration with Let’s Encrypt through their control panel.

Let's Encrypt free SSL certificates has a nice little tutorial on how to switch your WordPress site from HTTP to HTTPS in 13 simple steps.

So just as with Google’s current mobile-friendly standards, bring your website up to Google’s future HTTPS protocol standards and provide a welcoming, secure place for your visitors to be inspired and feel connected to who you are and what you do.

Besides, won’t it make you happy to see that little green padlock every time you visit your own website?

If you need professional help, contact us. We build websites.