iMarket Solutions Blog : Posts Tagged ‘ssl’

Frequently Asked SSL Questions

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

We’ve written before about the rise of secure protocols, and their increasing prevalence across the internet. This is largely due to the actions of Google, which has a vested interest in ensuring that the sites they index are as trustworthy as possible. Still, this is a deep topic, and our previous writings may have left some remaining doubt as to the benefits of migrating your website to HTTPS. If that’s the case, have a look at the following reasons why it is in your best interest to make sure that your site is using an HTTPS configuration.

How Does HTTPS Differ from HTTP?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is the method that the website uses to organize and display data between itself and any computers that may be connected to it. While this is a fast and easy method for retrieving and displaying data for those visiting your site, it does little to secure the site itself against malicious attacks.

Man-in-the-middle attacks are common on HTTP sites, as they allow someone to intercept the data from your site and display something of the attacker’s choosing to your customers. Usually, it’s an exact copy of the unsecured site with all information entered collected by the attacker. You can imagine what kind of havoc this could cause with sites that handle confidential information like medical records and finances.

HTTPS is Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which adds an extra layer of security encryption to help ensure that your customers are looking at the correct website. When someone navigates to an HTTPS address, the browser retrieves a special SSL (Secure Socket Layer) security certificate. Think of this as a kind of additional key needed to display the information. This certificate identifies the site to both Google and the browser as a trusted site. When a user is on an HTTPS site, they can be sure that:

  1. They are seeing the authentic site (E.G. their actual banking site instead of an imposter)
  2. Any information entered on that site will be encrypted for an added layer of security.

Does HTTPS Slow Down My Website?

It has been a longstanding myth that making use of HTTPS instead of HTTP is inconvenient because it slows down the website. Many webmasters are afraid to migrate to an HTTPS, for fear that the added page loading time will put off potential customers. Rest assured, though, this is not the case when the migration is done correctly.

In our in-house testing of roughly 150 SSL migrations, using Pingdom and GMetrix, websites experienced an average of 0.14 seconds faster load time after implementing HTTPS than they did before. So, instead of slowing down those sites, migrating to HTTPS actually made them load faster. Now, 0.14 seconds is so short a time as to be unnoticeable to humans. Google will most certainly notice, though, and that will reflect positively on your site.

Is it Really Worth the Effort to Migrate to HTTPS?

Making the switch to HTTPS can be an involved process, one that is also typically confusing to those who have never done it before. Even with all of the above benefits, some people just don’t want to go to the trouble of getting an SSL certificate to make their site more secure if it means jumping through that many hoops.

Here’s the thing, though: From an SEO standpoint, HTTPS helps you in more ways than one.

Remember: Google wants sites to start using HTTPS. For the past few years, it has even said that it uses SSL certification as a ranking factor for its websites. So, if you use HTTPS for your site, you are both more secure and more likely to rank better in Google’s search results than your competitors who don’t use it. With that in mind, if you haven’t yet migrated your site to HTTPS, we highly recommend that you consult with a trusted professional who can do that for you.

With all of this said, it’s easy to see why every single client who signs up with iMarket Solutions is given an SSL Certificate!  Contact us today to learn more. 

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Google to Prioritize Security for Local B2C Websites

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Have you ever wondered why some websites start with HTTP, while others start with HTTPS? Or perhaps you’ve seen an indication in your browser that the website you’re viewing is “Secure” while others are not?

In their infancy, security protocols were often used on sites that collected data sensitive to user privacy. Think along the lines of credit card information, social security numbers and even mailing addresses.

In years since, security protocols have grown in popularity and are now used in many different verticals including HVAC, plumbing and electrical industries. One player you can thank for the bulk of this change is Google.

Along with changing the way that your website looks within a browser, having a secure website also changes the way that search engines look at your website. You may have heard that search engines prefer sites that are secure. This is correct.

Starting in 2014, Google began prioritizing security in efforts to serve their audience with a better user experience. In 2017 the Google Chrome browser began labeling sites without security protocols as “Not Secure” within the URL display. More and more, sites that offer a secure browsing experience are seeing increases in their rankings and more competitive advantages in organic search. With strong indications that security is a top priority in the search industry, it’s imperative that local businesses keep this in mind as they build out their digital strategies moving into 2018.

 

What are the Benefits of Having a Secure Website?

The long and the short of it is: having a secure website better protects your users from malicious attacks and keeps the layers of communication between your website and its users safe.

Outside of this benefit, it’s also a factor that search engines look at when comparing the hundreds and thousands of options available for any given search query. User security is a benefit that search engines look for when pitting one website against another. With the end goal of providing end users with the best experience possible, search engines have embraced security protocols and their ability to serve a better user experience.

While there are hundreds of different factors that play into search engine ranking algorithms, having a secure website could provide you with a competitive advantage. With heavy hitters doing all they can to rank in a competitive landscape, adding security to your website is one piece of the puzzle that you don’t want to miss.

 

What is HTTPS?

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) defines the way that computer systems are able to standardize and communicate with data found on the World Wide Web. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details, Hypertext Transfer Protocol functions as the base layer that website browsers use to add human context to the numbers and code behind the curtain.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) encrypts data during the communication process so that it cannot be modified, corrupted or tracked without detection. This added layer of protection authenticates the identity of the website, ensuring that the user is being communicated the right data, protecting against man-in-the-middle attacks which prompt users to share information with the wrong party.

 

Should I Have Transferred to a Secure Website Already?

It depends. As mentioned in the beginning of this post, website security was born out of a necessity to safely access and share sensitive information on the World Wide Web. For verticals that did not require the transfer of sensitive information, the migration to a secure protocol could prove to be costly, time-consuming, and could even lead to drops in organic visibility if done incorrectly. For most businesses, the juice was not worth the squeeze.

In this time, many websites had to bear the burden of shaky keyword fluctuations as search engines tested and perfected the way that website security fit into their ranking algorithms. With a change made to the application layer of a website, search engines were not as readily capable of identifying the history of a site or its pages and struggled to assign authority that had built up over time. If you were to migrate your site to HTTPS during this time, it was as if you had launched a brand new domain! For webmasters around the world who had taken the time to develop longstanding authority in their niche, this was a very difficult hurdle.

At this point, however, search engines have fine-tuned their algorithms, and can now recognize past authority and assign it to the newly launched protocol. Website security has withheld the test of time and is a smart addition to building the trust value of your site.

If you haven’t previously considered migrating to a secure application protocol, now is the time.

 

What Can I Expect When I Transfer to a Secure Website?

The process for adding a layer of protection to your website security has evolved, and it’s now easier than ever to apply a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) into your website application. When migrating to HTTPS, there are many different factors that must be looked after in order to ensure that the transition is smooth and will derive the greatest benefit for search engine optimization and end users alike.

For all intents and purposes, one of the most important considerations is that a user can quickly and easily access your site, even if they use the old URL. When transferring to HTTPS, it’s imperative that you set up redirects so that search engines and users will be directed to the correct page.

Along with this step, there are also many different checkpoints that need to be addressed to provide the highest level of user experience, and to avoid any of the technical pitfalls that may hurt organic performance. Your digital provider must consider the best SSL certificate for your domain’s needs, how the hosting of your domain impacts the migration, where images are stored, whether website tracking is appropriately updated and even how external links to the old domain will be handled for streamlined performance.

When choosing a partner to help migrate your website to a secure protocol, make sure that they have set an action plan for retaining and tracking organic performance. Without the appropriate quality checkpoints in place, you may not catch a small error – making a switch for SEO benefit moot. But when done correctly, migrating your website to a secure protocol can prove to have strong benefits in user experience and organic search. To learn more, reach out to iMarket Solutions today!

Have questions about the organic performance of your HVAC, plumbing or electrical website? Reach out to iMarket Solutions today to learn more!

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