News article posted on: 25-09-2018
How SSL and HTTPS Boost Customer Confidence, Conversions, and SEO
Browsing the internet has become second nature. We do it without thinking, using search engines like Google until we find a topic or website we desire. Just by clicking through to a webpage, many behind the scenes processes occur to ensure the validity and security of the chosen page. If that website requires you to submit any personal details or payment information, the risk of data being intercepted and used fraudulently is likely. That is, unless the site has been SSL certified.
WHAT IS AN SSL CERTIFICATE?
When making a purchase, the customer should have every confidence that the information entered is securely protected. Between entering payment information and receiving goods at your door, numerous steps to safeguard the process take place.
Payment information is sent to a server, where the business will then process the data, providing you with goods or services in return. During the sending of information, those critical details are prone to being stolen unless encrypted. This is often referred to as a “man in the middle” attack. An SSL certificate is verification for the customer that the details they submitted are encrypted, so only the correct server can receive the details—minimising the risk of being hacked.
SECURE SOCKETS LAYER
Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) are comprised of a small file that carries cryptographic key information, thus providing a secure connection between a browser and web server. The certificate binds the domain or server name to a company's identity and location. Think of SSL certificates as digital padlocks, locking down the connection between your details and the company you submit them to.
As a result of a webpage being deemed secure, two things will happen when a company purchases SSL certification. Firstly, a padlock or green bar will appear in your web address bar. Secondly, the URL will be changed from HTTP to HTTPS.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HTTP AND HTTPS?
HTTPS or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure signifies that an SSL certificate has been verified against the company and their web domain. Checks are undertaken depending on the type of SSL certificate the company purchases. All communication, personal information, and payment details are protected when sites feature HTTPS in their website URL. HTTPS sites use the cryptographic key provided by the SSL to send and receive data.
HOW DOES AN SSL WORK?
After purchasing an SSL certificate relevant for your business and having your URL changed from HTTP to HTTPS, you are now ready to provide customers with confidence in entering vital information.
When your SSL certificate is operating, what happens?
The process an SSL certificate undertakes can be broken down into five critical steps.
1. A customer requests access to your company site through a browser or server.
2. The browser being used will ask the web server for identification. The SSL certificate will be sent to the browser or server that requested it.
3. The browser or server will validate the SSL certificate provided, deciding whether to trust it or not.
4. The web server will respond to the browser with a digitally signed acknowledgement to begin encrypted communication.
5. Finally, encrypted information can now be shared back and forth between the browser and web server.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SSL CERTIFICATE
It is not possible for any old website to be given an SSL certificate. The Certificate Authority (CA) is a third party that issues SSLs after validation is undertaken. The level of validation will vary depending on the type of SSL requested. Even the most basic SSL certificate will provide protection. However, depending on your business, the information you process, and the number of web domains you wish to register, differing SSL certificates are available.
DOMAIN VALIDATION CERTIFICATE
Domain validation SSL certificates are awarded after an automated service has completed the necessary security checks. Requiring the least amount of validation from the CA, company identity checks are minimal.
DOMAIN VALIDATION WILDCARD CERTIFICATE
Similar to domain validation (DV), the “wildcard” part offers companies the ability to secure an unlimited amount of sub-domains to a primary domain name. A viable solution for growing businesses, it can provide excellent expansion options. Similar identity checks to the DV are undertaken.
EXTENDED VALIDATION CERTIFICATE
The extended validation certificate is awarded to companies that have undergone the highest level of validation checks. A full background check is performed on the company in question; the EV also provides customers with absolute peace of mind that their details are being handled securely. As a result of being awarded an EV SSL certificate, the left-hand segment of the webpage URL featuring the company name will turn green—making it easily identifiable to customers.
This type of certificate gives businesses the ability to register multiple domains under a single license. Perfect for large corporations or businesses that need to manage a significant number of websites. It is possible to have a multi-domain certificate with either domain validation or extended validation. The latter will provide the best security for all your web domains.
BOTH SSL CERTIFICATES AND HTTPS HELP IMPROVE SEO
Google uses a sophisticated algorithm comprised of 200 different factors that contribute towards how a webpage will rank when searched for. Amongst those 200 factors, one critical aspect stands out; Google has confirmed that the use of HTTPS will be favoured when determining a website's rank. If two companies’ websites are a near-replica of each other, but one has HTTP and the other HTTPS, the HTTPS site would rank higher.
Being awarded an SSL certificate provides companies with HTTPS, so the two go hand-in-hand with helping to improve SEO (search engine optimisation). While there are still 199 other factors to consider, purchasing an SSL certificate is a simple step to improving your website's SEO, while also providing peace of mind for users.
AVOID BEING MARKED AS A “RISK”
At present, if your website is not secured by an SSL certificate, a warning prompt will appear when customers try to access your site. The warning indicates that user details may not be secure. Furthermore, from July 2018, Google will identify any website registered as HTTP as no longer safe. Any site marked as a risk will be affected detrimentally, concerning both SEO rank and conversion rates.
It is possible for a website to purchase an SSL certificate, however, until the site has switched over to HTTPS, the certificate is not validated. Switching can prove to be complicated, hence the reason some websites neglect changing.
The final piece of the SSL/HTTPS partnership. A study conducted by **GlobalSign showed 84% of users would abandon a purchase if they received a notification saying a website was not secure. Given that all sites without sufficient levels of security will soon be flagged as insecure, the right SSL certificate for your business is vital to ensuring a high conversion rate. Do not be caught off guard by the changes in July and risk losing most of your customers! **Services exist for your business that handle SSL certification from the CA, as well as the process of switching from HTTP to HTTPS. Improving your SEO and conversion rates couldn't be simpler!
Click here to order your SSL certificate!