Which SSL Should You Use?
Ever since Google announced that HTTPS is a ranking factor, many web owners are installing an SSL and switching their site from HTTP to HTTPS.
Yes, an SSL certificate can not only authenticate, encrypt, and decrypt the information that is transferred across the browser and servers, but it is also play a role in getting your website ranked higher in Google.
If you are noticing a drop in rankings, it is probably because one of the reasons is Google is penalizing you for not adhering to its internet safety protocols.
However, a quick look at the questions posted by website owners in different forums says that many are still not sure about how to install SSL certificates. So, this post is dedicated to those webmasters.
Since WordPress is the most commonly used CMS, let’s deal with how to install SSL certificates on WordPress and why it is important for SEO. Then we will cover the other platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace, and Wix.
Recommended for beginners
Installing an SSL certificate using a plugin doesn’t require much effort. Once you install the plugin, it will automatically do the entire job for you.
The Really Simple SSL plugin is the most popular WordPress plugin. First, install the plug-in and activate it.
When it is finished, browse Settings and go to the SSL page. Your SSL certificate will be automatically identified by the plugin, and it will set up your WordPress site to implement HTTPs.
The plugin will also set up redirects from HTTP to HTTPs. Besides, if some of your URLs are still loading content from insecure HTTP sources, the plugin will try to fix them.
The plugin should be on active mode at all times, save you from facing mixed content errors. You can either choose the free versions of Really Simple SSL plugin or go for the premium version to access more features and avail more benefits.
WordPress Manual Installation
This is a manual solution, and it will need some effort on your side.
To start manually installing an SSL certificate in WordPress, follow through this simple process:
You will be logged out and asked to re-login.
After that, add the code given below to your .htaccess file to arrange WordPress redirection to HTTPS.
For Nginx server users, add the code below in your configuration file to redirect from HTTP to HTTPS.
Delete example.com and replace it with your own domain name.
To enable Force SSL on your WordPress admin area or login pages, you need to configure SSL in the wp-config.php file.
Go to your wp-config.php file and enter the given code on top of it.
That’s all, stop editing!
You have successfully set up your WordPress site to implement an SSL certificate.
If you have used Squarespace to create your website, you can be assured that all such sites are automatically protected with free SSL certificates that prevent any third-party from illegitimate access to your website.
If there is nothing wrong with the domain connection, the SSL certificates will be connected automatically. It is included for third-party domains, sub-domains and built-in domains.
To choose an SSL setting, first, click on “Settings” in the “Home” menu.
Then go to the “Advanced” tab and click on “SSL”. There, under the “Security Preference” tab, choose the settings. It is recommended to check the “HSTS Secure” and “Secure” fields. Finally, click on “Save” to exit.
Once the custom domain has been added correctly, the Shopify platform provides the SSL certificates to the store directly.
When your website is eligible, you will receive a notification on the dashboard.
To activate the certificate, you must login to the Shopify panel using your login credentials.
Then click on the “Online Store” tab and then o the “Domains” tab.
Finally, you click on the “Activate SSL Certificates” tab.
When the activation is successful, you will find the confirmation.
When you have activated your certificate, it may affect you’re the traffic to your site for some time. You must use the webmaster tools to inform the search engines about this change. The domain sitemap must be updated when the change is done from HTTP to HTTPS. After publishing the new sitemap, the earlier HTTP sitemap must be removed.
Wix does not support any third-party SSL certificates. All sites on Wix are already enabled with HTTPS protocol along with the inbuilt SSL certification.
Though SSL carries less weight compared to other signals like high-quality content, Google has announced that implementing SSL will still give your site a minor ranking boost.
For example, Cloudtec, a tech company, reported almost twice the number of top 10 search engine rankings after implementing SSL.
Not only that, but the website’s overall page visibility also boosted.
It has also been found out that 53% of consumers will trust a brand more when they see the padlock. You can display both the padlock and HTTPS on your web browser when you implement SSL.
Also, when a study was conducted to assess whom consumers trust the most and the least, 49% of participants said they trusted Certificate Authorities.
What do all these findings lead to? It indicates that you will have more page visits, and your SEO rankings will boost when you install an SSL certificate.
An SSL certificate might not directly affect your SEO rankings to a large extent, but it will definitely fetch you positive results indirectly.
Moreover, sites that still implement HTTP are punished by most of the search engines.
They will display a Not Secure warning whenever a user visits over HTTP site, which will turn them off.
Installing an SSL certificate is simple if you use a plugin. If you are going to do it manually, be prepared to put more effort. Follow the procedures listed above and also learn how to fix mixed content errors in WordPress as you may encounter it.
Whether or not you want an SEO ranking boost, installing an SSL has become mandatory to provide security to users. And for those looking to rank high in search engines, what better way than to implement an SSL certificate while enjoying the added benefits?