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23 May 2017

What are SSL certificates? And why you need one…

The web is becoming a more secure place and an SSL certificate is becoming one of the most basic expectations for any website. It’s also now a ranking factor for Google to ensure top results are secure. Here’s why car dealers must have an SSL certificate on their website.

What Are SSL Certificates

Take a look at the URL of this page you’re on. See at the start it says ‘https’; that ‘S’ means ‘Secure’. This means any data between your computer and the servers our website is on is encrypted, making it unreadable for everyone except the server you are making requests to.

This is essentially what an SSL certificate is for; to encrypt data. While this is especially important for e-commerce sites, where users are making purchases and sharing credit card details, it’s becoming an expectation of any site that any data shared is secure.

Why car dealers need an SSL

Trust between you and the user

An SSL (secure socket layer if you’re interested) provides trust between the user and the company they are dealing with. Users are becoming more savvy to online security and some browsers will even point out now when a website is not secure. That’s the last thing any business wants when a prospective customer comes to visit.

Different browsers display SSLs differently, but it’s highly noticeable to the user. Some show the name of the company in the URL bar as green when the connection is secure, while others show a little padlock icon. As users get used to almost all websites having an SSL certificate, it will become obvious when websites don’t offer this level of protection.

You might not take payments online today, but imagine if you wanted to be able to take deposits for used cars or sell accessories online. Having an SSL already set up means it’s one less thing to implement.

It helps your rankings in Google

Google is always changing its algorithm to help improve the results it shows. No one knows exactly what all the ranking factors are, but what is known is that since 2014, Google now uses https as a ranking signal. This means that if your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, you’re not likely to rank as high.

Also, according to SEO expert Neil Patel, Google has stated that if all other ranking factors are equal, an SSL certificate will be the tiebreaker in a search result. That is to say that if you and a competitor are fighting for that all-important number one spot, and you have an SSL and they don’t, you will claim victory.

It secures your data and your customers

Hacking seems to be a hot topic at the moment, and while hackers may target larger websites to make a statement and be seen, others may favour hacking smaller, unsecure and easier sites. Hacking doesn’t have to mean defacing the website, but it could mean stealing data submitted by your customers, such as their names and email addresses, when they make an enquiry.

It could also mean phishing attacks, where a hacker could make a clone of your website; however, the main difference would be the lack of an SSL, thus making the whole site unsecure and likely to send a warning message to the user.

The last thing any business wants to be doing is contacting their database to let them know they’ve been hacked and their personal details have been stolen.

Overall: you need one!

If you haven’t got an SSL certificate, we highly encourage you to get one as soon as possible. Speak to your developers or whoever looks after your website and demand one be set up today. It doesn’t take long nor does it cost much for a standard certificate, and it could avoid a lot of pain in the future!

Or, if you’re still unsure, we can help and get one sorted for you. All our websites come secure as standard, so if you’re worried about the security level of your website, we can take a look, audit your current website and suggest any changes we would make to ensure you’re secure.

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