Secure Hosting With SSL Certificates

Improve your Google ranking & your visitors’ security in one go

In order to try to make the web a safer place to browse, Google are now favouring secure websites in their search rankings, as reported by the BBC. What this means is that if your site is run using an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate then you are a likely to be a step ahead of your competitors and will be more likely to rank higher than them when people search in Google.
 
An SSL certificate is visual proof to visitors that your site is secure and that your certificate is valid.
 
Currently only about 2 million of the world’s websites are secured using SSL certificates. To give you an idea, at the beginning of 2014 there were over 850 million websites on the web (that’s approaching one billion!). That means that less than 0.25% of websites are using SSLs to secure their website to make the internet a safer place for browsing.
 
Of course, with this news that Google are now including the SSL factor in their ranking algorithms, there is expected to be a big increase in the amount of sites that use SSL. Therefore if you need your website to have a good presence in Google it is important that your website operates with a valid SSL certificate.
 

What does an SSL certificate do?

SSL certificates provide two basic functions.
1. They encrypt the data going between your website and the visiting computer which stops eves-dropping upon communication from malicious sources. This means that no communication information or sensitive data can be stolen.
2. It provides assurances of identity to visitors of your site, giving them complete confidence that the website is owned by you and not any other malicious source.
Beyond these two basic functions, having an SSL now also contributes towards your website ranking potential in Google’s search engine.

Purchase your SSL certificate

There are two basic types of SSL Certificate that will improve your SEO: A Standard SSL and an Extended Validation SSL.

Standard SSL

£125 p/a + £105 installation & setup fee
This is the most basic form of SSL that will secure your domain providing a padlock in your visitors’ web browser address bar and includes a $10,000† warranty for visitors*. This option will help your site rank better in Google than sites with no SSL. Price includes your own dedicated IP address**.

Extended Validation SSL

£350 p/a + £105 installation & setup fee
The extended Validation SSL will provide the full green bar and padlock in visitors’ web browser address bar, leading to greatest visitor confidence in your website. The Extended Validation SSL includes a $100,000† warranty for visitors*. This option will help your site rank better in Google than sites with the Standard SSL. Price includes your own dedicated IP address**.

*The warranty is the amount of money that can be claimed back in the event of a man in the middle attack on the site that has the certificate. The money is not for the person/company who purchased the certificate but is there to reimburse the end user who has been defrauded.
†As the companies which provide the SSL Certificates are primarily American the amount is always in dollars. The amount would therefore be whatever it is converted to pound sterling at the time.
**The benefit of having your own dedicated IP address is that your website will be the only one in the world hosted on that IP address. Websites usually share their IP with other websites. Having your very own IP means there’s no chance of you sharing with untrusted websites (a factor which could cause Google to look negatively upon all domains on that IP)

Which option is best for me?

The extended SSL is the more highly recommended option and will give your site more weight with Google. However, it does come at a higher price and for small businesses who can only afford the Standard version, this will still add to Google ranking value more than sites with no SSL certificate. Personally I’d recommend going for the best possible option you can realistically afford.

Add Cloudflare for even greater security, speed and Google ranking.

Using Cloudflare Pro as well as your SSL will primarily do 3 things:
1. Speed up your website
2. Add more security features
3. Keep your website online even if your server goes down
The combination of these three components will also give your site more authority in the eyes of Google, further enhancing your chances of a better ranking in Google’s search engine. Simply put: When people search for your services you will be more likely to appear above competitors who don’t take advantage of these features.
 
Information correct as of August 2014

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