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SSL Certificate & Google: What Every Blog Owner Needs to Know

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you probably know that all hell is going to break loose on the internet on October 1st. What do I mean? In short, getting an SSL Certificate.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Here’s the site’s affiliate disclosure policy for full details.

The “Big G” (Google) will start flagging sites that don’t have an SSL Certificate as “Not Secure” on this date. They ain’t play around y’all. It’s going down!

This is a game-changer because it can severely affect your site’s reputation, traffic and rank moving forward. So, read carefully.

Google Puts Blog Owners on Notice about Site Security

On August 18, 2017, I received the following message from Google. I’m sure I received others before then, but ignored them. This one I saved though, because the deadline is looming. It read as follows:

The search giant ended the email by advising me to “Migrate to HTTPS: To prevent the “Not Secure” notification from appearing when Chrome users visit your site, only collect user input data on pages served using HTTPS.”

Following is what you need to know about this – and how to get an SSL Certificate for your site.

What’s Up with Google and This Whole SSL Certificate Thing?

In two words, it all has to do with site security. As explained on this site much better than I could ever say it:Google SSL Certificate: What You Need to Know

Studies show that people don’t see a lack of a secure sign as a warning. A lot of information gets shared on the Internet. Many users don’t realize that the sites they are sharing their information on aren’t as secure as others.

Google’s plan to clearly label unsafe pages is another step towards making their browser safer and protecting the privacy of its users from outside sources, like hackers.

SSL Certificate Required On Sites That Ask for Info

  • Subscriber Box
  • Make a Purchase
  • Search Box

According to the aforementioned site, Google started marking sites that didn’t have an SSL Certificate as unsafe in January of 2017.

When it first started, it was only on sites/pages where information was exchanged, eg, when you were asked to provide an email address to subscribe to a newsletter and/or you made a purchase.

Starting on October 1st though, Google will start labeling all sites that don’t have an SSL Certificate unsafe.

So even if you just have an informational site where you don’t require a visitor to fill out a form of any kind or offer anything for sale, a web surfer will get an “Unsafe” message.

Even sites with just a search box aren’t exempt from this labeling, which will look like the following.

Google Chrome: Site Not Secure Notification Example

Following is what you want your site to display – what it will display – when you get an SSL Certificate.

Google SSL Certificate: Secure Site Example

How an SSL Certificate Will Affect Your Site’s Rank

Of course, site security is one of the ranking factors for Google. So if your site doesn’t have a certificate, it will impact rank. FYI, Google introduced HTTPS as a ranking signal a few years ago — in 2014. Even though it’s been a few years, very few sites have bothered to switch/upgrade to HTTPS.

According to a February 2017 post on NeilPatel.com (Neil is an SEO guru):

Just 1.9% of the top 1 million websites redirect users to a default HTTPS/SSL version. Even when you look at the Quantcast top 10,000 websites – a measly 4.2% have made the shift to this secure version. Overall, less than .1% of the websites on the internet are secure.

So if you haven’t bothered getting an SSL Certificate yet, you’re not alone. And the data-driven study cited on Neil’s site shows that only a slight improvement in SEO was shown when a site switched to HTTPS from HTTP. Some sites even reported dramatic traffic drops.

But remember, this was early this year. Now, Google is getting serious about it, so my feeling (and those of other more knowledgeable SEO experts) is that SSL Certificates will have a greater impact on ranking moving forward.

Sites without an SSL certificate may lose rank in Google. Click To Tweet

The Cost of Getting an SSL Certificate

From all the research I’ve done, expect to spend approximately $20 to $30 per domain, which includes installation. You can buy cheap SSL Certificates. I’ve seen them as low as like $4, but again, this is just the certificate. It doesn’t include the installation.

How Long Do SSL Certificates Last?

Most HTTPS/SSL certificates you buy are for one year, although you can get some free ones that are for as little as three months.

I got my SSL Certificate from HostGator, my web hosting company. I got a multiple domain SSL package deal where I paid $80 bucks for three domains, and $25 for each additional domain. And FYI, www.InkwellEditorial.com is a different domain than InkwellEditorial.com.

The great thing about the package I got is that it includes securing up to 210 domains on one certificate. I didn’t want to deal with the headache of trying to install one myself – which can be done, but you have to be super tech oriented, and I’m not.

Here is the cost of getting an SSL certificate from HostGator. I have 13 domains, so yeah, the cost can add up quickly.

Free SSL Certificates

There are free SSL certificates to be had. I looked into them, but decided to go with my host company because while buying an SSL Certificate is easy, it’s the installing that requires technical knowledge.

Also, I did some reading and found out that some hosts don’t accept certain certificates. And, knowing which certificate was really secure was a concern, so I just said to myself, “Bite the bullet and let your host company handle it.” So I got on chat with HostGator, let them tell me what I needed, and placed the order.

FYI, here are a few reputable sites that offer free SSL Certificates:

HostGator offers free SSL Certificates, but not on the plan that I have (Baby Plan). I would have had to upgrade to the Business Plan. Most host companies offer free ones on the upgraded plans.

By the way, another host company that I recommend that provides free SSL certificates is A2 Hosting.

Buying an SSL Certificate Outside Your Host Company

Again, the problem is not buying the certificate, it’s installing it. So before you go out and get a free one or buy one outside of your host company, ask them if they can install the one you’re thinking about purchasing for you, and what the cost would be.

Even with an SSL Certificate, Is a Site Safe?

Leave it to good ole internet schemers and scammers, but even sites that have moved to HTTPS are having a hard time being discerned from phishing / scam sites. How/why? Because, according to this malware blog:

Unfortunately, the introduction of new browser versions capable of flagging sites also promptly introduced more phishing sites using HTTPS.

For example, examplewebsite.com may appear as examplevvebsite.com—Catch that? The double ‘v’ together makes it look like the letter ‘w.’ This is an example of typosquatting. Here’s another example: examp1ewebsite.com—the ‘l’ in “example” is actually the number one.

So how do you know a site is really secure? Most sites will just have the “Secure” message with a closed lock (make sure the lock is closed) like in the example above.  Some sites — ie, banks and other fianncial institutions — will show their business name beside the closed lock and their URL. See?

How Long Does It Take to Get an SSL Certificate?

As I said, I use HostGator, and they told me it’d take about 24 hours. When I first contacted them about it though, they said 3-4 days, so plan on anywhere from 1-4 days. It took 3 days to get mine.

Do You Really Need to Get an SSL Certificate for Your Site/Blog?

If you’re serious about making money on the web, yeah. And that’s simply because, if you landed on a site and got a big ole “Unsafe” message, how secure would you feel surfing that site, never mind typing in your credit card or any other kind of information?

Related Posts

Now if you just have a hobby site and don’t care about things like traffic and monetization, then I’d say don’t even worry about it. But again, Google is playing hard ball. So yeah, it sucks, but you need an SSL certificate.

If you don’t already have a blog, then by all means moving forward, always get the SSL certificate when you purchase your hosting. It’s now become another must-have expense to work into the budget as an online entrepreneur.

Have You Gotten an SSL Certificate Yet?

Do you plan on getting one? Did you know about this Google change? Have experience to share with a free SSL certificate? Let me know below. And one more thing …

Pin This Post

If you found this post helpful, I’d be ever so grateful if you’d take a sec to pin it to Pinterest: . Thank you.

P.S.: How to Quickly & Easily Get an SSL Certificate

Grayson is owner of this firm, and kind of THE “tech guy” to the online, money-making rockstar community. So if you don’t want your host company to install your SSL certificate, he’s a great, affordable option.

P.P.S.: Here’s a Proven Way to Make Money Online — Lots of Money.

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    Comments

    1. Johnny Jacob says:

      Nice article well explained about the security of your site. So you need SSL certificate in order to promote your site.

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