SSL and SEO

Welcome to SSL Hell

Is It Really Worth It?

SSL is, especially when someone lands on your website only to be greeted by a large graphic screaming “DANGER! WILL ROBINSON! ALIEN APPROACHING!”, scaring the living daylights outta your prospective customer.
Then they bounce!
We can’t have that now, can we?
Warning label from McAffee about SSL
So, off to the webhost to purchase SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates (certs) to get that https in the domain url.
That’s the easy part. What happens after that is a total clusterf**k.
Now, on its face, a secure website makes a lot of sense. You don’t want give your email to some pirates! Or unknowingly download “malware” (malicious software) that would hijack your device.
But unless you’re gathering sensitive, personally identifying info, like passwords, birth data or account numbers, do your really need all that “security”?

Google has answered that question for you – YES!
Whether your website really needs it or not.

Most websites by nickswebworks.com are very basic lead generator websites that collect a name and contact info, easily found in a directory somewhere, otherwise “public info”, the same you would put in a craigslist ad.
But without going through “SSL hell”, which was mandated by Google to commence July 1, 2018, your website could be branded with the Scarlet Letter.
There is no choice.

SSL And Its Effect On Your SEO

Last year, 2017, the scuttlebutt was if you didn’t have https then you would not show up in top organic SERPS (where the money is).
That, in and of itself would scare any small business man with a small and very limited, but lucrative, web presence.

Throwing The Baby Out with Bath Water

Now with this very heavy handed edict, your website has to have SSL https, or watch your online business just disappear.
The problem is, SSL certs are a complicated process and even if you do the right thing, your website could still disappear and not be viewable by your prospective customer/client etc.

Last year we did an experiment – we gave a top ranking website an SSL cert to get that over hyped https. For a good year and a half I advised against such an expense, in time and $$, because it really wasn’t worth it. Our http websites outranked https websites in organic search results placement or SERP.
There was not a decline in SERP, so all was OK with the world, until this last July 1.

Buying the certs is the easy part – implementing them is when the “Hell” part comes in. Web hosts like GoDaddy are inundated with requests and the subsequent cert programming, so there’s gonna be some bugs in the soup. The worst part is, if the certs are not configured properly, your website will NOT display.
Now, that’s HELL!

SSL Or Die!

The only people benefiting from this overwrought edict are web hosts (and others) selling the certs and the freelance web developers trying to clean up the mess.
This post was inspired by the convoluted process I just had to endure to keep my client in the SERPs with freshly minted SSL certs and the all important https in the URL.
Without it you risk being seen as a pariah on the web.

In my humble professional opinion, this whole process is overkill, on so many levels. The “warnings” are like ransom notes – this whole SSL is the biggest scam perpetrated on the small biz sole proprietor. I call it for what it is, “Extortion”.
Hopefully some engineer will figure out how to differentiate an insurance website from a simple lead generator website and apply the warnings appropriately.
Until then, bend over…

The Bottom Line

You have no choice in the matter. SSL is and will be a prime ingredient of your SEO, for good or ill.

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