Google has confirmed that HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) has become a significant ranking signal within the Google search algorithm. Ok, enough of this techie stuff already – what is HTTPS and why should an attorney or law firm care? Quite simply, it makes your website more secure and safer for visitors while contributing to increased data security across the internet in general.
HTTPS is a communications protocol which makes the interaction between a website and it’s visitors much more secure. It is a technology “handshake” which provides a shared security “session key” for that specific connection between the website and the visitor.
Many browsers now warn you if a site is not HTTPS and some security, virus and malware software will attempt to prevent you from visiting a non-secure site altogether.
From a search perspective, many prospective clients won’t visit a site which is unsecured. Generally speaking HTTPS is a business staple, required for any serious website. This is especially true for attorneys and law firms who wish to make it “rain” through the internet.
You can add an “SSL” (Secure Socket Layer) certificate to your site for around $70/year through major hosting companies such as GoDaddy, and this is an investment we require for all clients and highly recommend for all in the legal industry.
While the impact on present day searches is not as strong as “original relevant content” for example, Google set a goal a few years ago for the web to become “HTTPS everywhere”. Google has stated several times publicly and within it’s own blog the significance of this element within the Google algorithm as well as the increasing impact of HTTPS on your site’s search related performance.
The primary take away here is that for $70 a year you can make your own website more secure and increase your web strategy’s signals for trust and credibility. This is a fluid time in the SEO community. If your site does is not presently HTTPS securing an SSL certificate for your site may be the best $70 you spend on your internet strategy this quarter.