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Posted on October 6, 2016 by Julie Short

A few weeks ago, a spokesperson for Google made waves by confirming an idea web designers and SEO experts had begun to suspect: that the world’s most popular search engine will be using SSL connections as a search signal. In other words, websites with SSL will now be more visible to searchers than sites without them.

This mirrors Google’s recent decision to incorporate mobile compatibility into search results, a move that put small businesses and their marketing teams into a minor sort of meltdown. If you’re at a company that’s still recovering from “Mobilegeddon,” not to mention Penguin and Panda, what should you make of this revelation?

To get to the bottom of the issue, there are a few questions that need to be answered…

What Is SSL?

SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layers,” which specifies a certain type of connection between your hosting server and the visitor’s computer. SSL connections are encrypted, making them virtually impossible for hackers to view from the outside.

You’ve probably used SSL connections a dozen times already today. You often find them attached to banks, online merchants, and other websites that have the ability to conduct transactions. Often, SSL connections are indicated through an “https” designation, a different color on your Internet browser, or a small icon indicating that the connection is secure.

Why Does Google Want Your Site To Have SSL?

It’s important to remember that Google engineers don’t necessarily want anything in particular, except for searchers and users to be happy. In this case, it’s easier for searchers to be happy when they know they are getting safer connections to trusted websites, and that there is little chance for online thieves to snoop in on their transactions.

Additionally, SSL is a feature that’s usually offered with premium web hosting. So, a site with SSL capability is also likely to have a faster connection speed, more uptime, and a smaller chance of being infected with spam or viruses.

Should You Upgrade?

At first glance, upgrading to SSL capability might seem like a big burden for a small business that doesn’t conduct transactions online. However, when you look a little bit closer, you’ll find that improving your hosting package to allow for SSL isn’t likely to cost you more than a couple of dollars per day.

For that fee, you could get a search engine positioning advantage over your closest rivals and competitors. And, you’ll get all the benefits associated with premium hosting (like faster page loading times, a more reliable website, and better backup and features benefits) that are ultimately good for your business anyway.

When you look closely, Google’s preference for SSL-enabled websites isn’t all that big of a deal for most smaller companies. In fact, it’s probably just the encouragement they need to take a commonsense step in the right direction and upgrade their hosting plans to keep up with the times.

To find out more about this trend – or see what your business can do to improve its search engine rankings overall – get in touch with the WebRevelation team today and see how we can help!

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