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Defining an SSL certificate, we should start by explaining what the http and https protocols are. In a nutshell, they are used to transfer data from the server of a website to web browsers. The main difference between the two is that the https protocol is enriched with SSL certificate, which makes the data sent using it secure.
What is an SSL certificate used for?
SSSL certificate is used to secure the data of users of a given website on the path between the web server and the web browser they are currently using. Data secured by an SSL certificate includes login credentials for various types of user accounts, such as mail or bank accounts. Securing data transmission in this way is especially important for any online payments. In case the site does not have an SSL certificate, the data transmitted, is in an open way, which can easily be intercepted and used. So, when using websites, we should pay attention to whether they have an SSL certificate before we provide any personal information.
Badly-installed SSL certificate on a site, and positioning
An improperly installed SSL certificate on a site can bring our SEO efforts more trouble than good. Therefore, if we conduct any SEO activities, we need to make sure it is correct, preferably already at the stage of SEO audit of the site in question.
The most common mistake that occurs when installing an SSL certificate is the lack of redirection between the http and https protocol versions of the site. As a rule, for the Google search engine robot http://domena.pl and https://domena.pl are two different websites, and in this case we are dealing with duplicate content the entire content of the site. As we know duplicate content basically rules out the possibility of achieving high rankings for any keywords, so avoiding this mistake by adding a 301 redirect when installing an SSL certificate is crucial to our SEO efforts.
Another element to keep in mind when installing an SSL certificate on a site is the internal linking that has been done so far. Any link that appeared in the content, links, images or CSS must be changed to a version with https.
If these two elements are forgotten when installing an SSL certificate, a huge drop in organic visibility and website traffic – and not just free traffic – will surely await you.
Does a well-installed SSL certificate affect positioning?
Google does not mention the direct positive effect of installing an SSL certificate on a site’s keyword positions, but having one is one of the requirements for websites. Therefore, we can guess that its absence will to some extent prevent us from effective positioning.
Additionally, it should be remembered that the lack of an SSL certificate is visible in the browser to any user, who in most cases will receive a message that the site is unsafe and enters it at his own risk. Even if the site ranks high, this will result in an increased rejection rate, as web users are increasingly aware of cyber threats. So positioning a site without an SSL certificate seems to make no sense at all.
Installing an SSL certificate, and collecting data in Google Search Console
Even after the certificate is installed correctly, the data in Google Search Console will stop collecting for us. This is of course no mistake, as I mentioned earlier for Google’s robot the version of the site with http and https are in theory two different sites. So in order for the data to continue to collect for us, we need to verify the Google Search Console account for the page version with https. The exception, of course, will be the case when we had the GSC account verified for the domain service, in which case we do not need to perform any action, and the counting will remain unchanged.
As we can see, an SSL certificate carries the same benefits for SEO efforts, so it should definitely not be overlooked, and its installation should be done correctly with proper redirects. A properly added SSL certificate will significantly facilitate our SEO, but also help build trust in our website in the eyes of its users.
She has 11 years of professional experience, she started her career at the Emarketing Experts agency as a junior SEO specialist. In addition to website positioning, she was responsible for conducting 360° marketing projects as an Account Manager at They.pl. She worked for companies from the financial sector (Bank Millennium, Bank Meritum, Finai S.A.) and e-commerce (e.g. Black Red White, Autoland, Mumla). At Up&More, he is responsible for, among others, SEO projects for Panek Car Sharing, Amerigas, Interparking, H+H and Autoplaza.