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Marketing & Sales
May 1, 2017

HTTPS and SSL: Do You Need to Secure Your Site?

Sponsored Content provided by Jim Ellis - Vice President, Account Director, Signal

Google and others are continuing their ongoing push to help make the web more secure. We are seeing the steady adoption of HTTPS – evidenced by the fact that half of page 1 results on Google are now HTTPS.
 
For those of you not familiar with the term, HTTPS stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.” The “S” comes from SSL, the security technology which encrypts all data passed between your browser and the web server.
 
Moz suggests that this will grow to 65 percent by the end of 2017. So, the push to SSL is happening, but what do marketers need to do about it?
 
The update below shares what marketers and site owners need to know about the growing trend.
 

How Google Is Specifically Pushing SSL

  • According to Google, HTTPS is now a search engine ranking signal. Since it’s just one of more than 200 factors, having it won’t make you suddenly rank number one for every keyword. However, if your website and another website tie on every other ranking signal, HTTPS can give you the edge needed for the top ranking.
  • Google also flags unencrypted sites in Chrome.

 
Should I Secure My Site? How?

The answer is different for every company. But what we can tell you is there are a lot of benefits, such as the coveted Google ranking boost. Let’s face it, everyone wants to be number one… or at least on page one of search results!

 
Big Benefits Of SSL

  • Data privacy and security. People are using hotspots more than ever before. It’s important to encrypt full websites, not just logins, because you never know who might be watching and waiting for the opportunity to capture session information and other private data. Without security, you become an open book online.
  • Content source validation. HTTPS not only encrypts the data, but verifies the content source. This is important because SSL certificates must be verified and issued from a trusted source – giving users a high level of confidence that what they are downloading is actually from the site they’re on. This prevents “man in the middle” attacks and prevents hackers from replacing non-secured content with viruses or other malicious code. When the world is made of data, you want to know what you’re dealing with is safe.

Tips For A Flawless Implementation 

In the past, it could be costly and tough to implement SSL. This isn’t true today. You just need to factor in a little bit of time to implement SSL correctly and the cost of purchasing and maintaining SSL certificates. The thing is, most websites don’t have a flawless SSL implementation – and end up seeing no benefit.
 
Make sure you do it right, with tips from Google Search Console and Search Engine Land:
  • Use server-side 301 redirects
  • Don’t forget to update all link references in your content
  • Update any paid media, email or marketing automation campaigns to use the HTTPS versions of the URLs
  • In your analytics platform, make sure you update the default URL if one is required, to ensure that you are tracking HTTPS properly, and add notes about the change so that you know when it occurred for future reference
  • Add the HTTPS property to Search Console: Google sees it as a separate site
 
Make sure your site is functional, beautiful – and secure.

Jim Ellis has over 20 years of experience in marketing strategy and implementation throughout a variety of industry sectors. Since 1999 he has been with Signal, a digital agency based in Wilmington and Raleigh, North Carolina. Signal has proven strengths serving as the “local agency” for global companies, generating solid results in web design, brand identity, mobile app development, digital strategy and more. Jim provides counsel to many of the agency’s largest clients with an eye toward integrated communications and a vast knowledge of both traditional and modern practices. As a songwriter and musician with a business degree, he believes his artistic/corporate “dual personality” gives him added perspective to be an effective liaison between clients and Signal’s talented creative team. Originally from Ohio, Jim graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.S. in Business Administration.
 

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