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In a progressively digital age, security while surfing the web is becoming more and more important. As a business that operates in the digital sphere, you must take these concerns into consideration in order to convey an image of trustworthiness and reputability.

Beyond communicating to your customers and potential clients that you are a trustworthy company, ensuring that visiting your website is safe can now help with visibility on search engines, an important factor in converting visitors into sales leads. And what better way to get noticed than by appearing at the top of a Google search? Sure, screaming at the top of your lungs might get the attention of your next door neighbour, but that won’t make any noise on the internet.

But before we go into how you can “make more noise”, let’s start with web URLs. Consider the first few letters that appear at the beginning of a web address, “http://”. This stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the standard protocol that defines how data and messages are transferred on the World Wide Web. HTTPS, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is the secure version of this protocol (obviously). In order for a website to adopt an HTTPS-encrypted website, it needs to add a Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) certificate. When you browse a website that has this certificate, you will notice in the address bar that “https://” appears before the site address instead of “http://”. You will also notice a tiny padlock beside the URL to indicate secure browsing. Websites that facilitate online banking (e.g. Bank of Montreal) and e-commerce (e.g. PayPal) are examples of sites that use an encrypted HTTPS connection.

On August 6th, Google announced that websites using secure, encrypted HTTPS will be rewarded with a boost in search rankings. Presently, it’s a lightweight signal that affects less than 1% of global queries and carries less weight than other signals like high-quality content. But, once more web masters make the switch to HTTPS, Google may strengthen its influence on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the process of increasing visibility on search engines. Indeed, less than 1% is a small number, but it would be smart to make the move since the digital landscape can be quite tumultuous due to its constant changes. With consumers’ increasing worries over security and unsafe websites, your business would do well to minimize their concerns.

If you haven’t already done so, how can you make the move towards a more secure site?  You must generate a certificate request and send it to an online certificate authority. There are a few trusted companies, otherwise known as certificate authorities that offer certification, sometimes even for free. TrustWave, GeoTrust,  and Entrust are some examples of companies that can do this for you.

Now with a solid foundation upon which you can build a more trustworthy digital presence for your business, you can venture forth into improving your visibility on Google. Happy encrypting!