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Why install an SSL certificate and migrate your website to https?

Alexis

 

Since this past July, Google warns users about http websites with an “Connection is Not Secure” label in Google Chrome. Firefox does too. As these are very popular browsers, if you didn’t install an SSL certificate on your website yet, many of your visitors will see this notification:

 

SSL Certificate Message

 

You surely don’t want to show this alert to your website visitors. In order to get rid of this, you must install an SSL certificate on your Website.

 

How to install an SSL certificate on your Website?

Once installed, an SSL certificate will ensure a secure connection between the visitor’s browser and the web server where the content comes from.

In most of cases, your web hosting provider will offer you this service as it hosts your Website and often manages your domains names. You will notice that the price of an SSL certificate can vary quite a bit: it can reach 300€ per year, yet elsewhere you can access the same certificate type for free (the most popular one being Let’s Encrypt). There is no difference between these SSL certificates, it only depends on your hosting provider’s pricing policy.

Once you buy a SSL certificate, it is very easy to activate it and usually it is done with a single click. The SSL certificate will switch your website protocol from http to https. To complete your website migration to https, you will need to follow a few more steps.

 

How to complete your website migration to https

  • 301 redirects:

You now have to create 301 redirects from the http URLs of your website to the their https version. It is not really useful for your website itself but rather is more for the incoming external links.

  • Mixed content:

Your URLs are now forced to show https but you still have to check if your website content has also switched (some hosting providers migrate it automatically while others don’t). This is what is called “mixed content”: your URL is https but your images, scripts, links and others elements can still refer to an http (and so insecure) address. So, you need to fix this otherwise your visitors browser will still show the insecure alert label. Once proceeded, you will be able to see the secure padlock in your web browser:

 

SSL Certificate Padlock

 

  • Social media:

Don’t forget to add your new website URL (with https) to your social media accounts.

  • Google:

You’ll need to update your Google Analytics account with this https URL and you create a new Google Search Console property for your new secure website. Don’t forget to also review your Google Ads destination URLs.

You will find a complete step-by-step migration process here: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/https-migration-guide/195103/

 

Is the SSL certificate important for SEO?

Google didn’t confirm that its algorithm is taking this criteria directly in account, but if your run an ecommerce website, it it very likely that the visitors noticing this alert on your website will quickly leave your site… and this increasing bounce rate will surely damage your position in Google’s rankings.

Another crucial point is that https websites load faster than the http ones. The search engines take this criteria in account for SEO positioning.

Many websites have noticed improving rankings after migrating to https. So, the question is not if you should install an SSL certificate and switch your website to https, but when you will do it. Otherwise, you may find yourself marginalised in the world of Google.

If you need any assistance installing an SSL certificate or to improve your website’s SEO in general, do not hesitate to contact us. We would be work with you to boost your website’s performance.