Using an SSL on your website has many benefits such as building trust and confidence as well as improving your search engine rankings.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it’s a technology that encrypts all the information sent to and from your website.
This ensures that any private information your visitors share with your website stays private.
You can tell if a website is secured using SSL by checking the address bar. If the URL for the page begins with “https” then the site is protected (the “S” stands for security). If the URL starts with an “http” only then that page is not protected.
Plus browsers will show a little lock icon next to the URL.
For example, here’s how the lock looks in Safari:
And here’s how the lock looks in Google Chrome.
Using SSL for Site Security
SSL protects your website by ensuring that third parties cannot see or intercept any data shared by your users.
In simple terms it creates a secured tunnel between the user’s web browser and the website’s server.
SSL also verifies that your website is really who you claim to be so your users don’t have to worry about submitting information to a fake site that might steal their data.
If you’re collecting any sort of information for the visitors to your website it’s a good idea to use SSL.
Most real estate agents should be using SSL on their websites, especially if they’re collecting leads with email addresses or phone numbers.
You don’t want this information to be intercepted by anyone else.
Using SSL for SEO
In 2014 Google announced that they were going to start using SSL as a ranking signal and they would be penalizing sites that didn’t have an SSL certificate.
This means that if you don’t have SSL on your website or you have it set up wrong you might rank lower than websites that do have SSL.
There are lots of factors that affect how your site ranks on Google and you want to take advantage of as many of them as possible and avoid being penalized as much as possible too.
How to get an SSL certificate
Most web hosting companies have an option to buy a basic SSL certificate and in many cases this will be ok if you’re running your own website.
These certificates usually cost between $25 to $60 to register for a year.
If you’re a broker or you’re running a much more complicated website there are more advanced certificates that provide even higher levels of protection.
These SSL certificates can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars and there are multiple SSL retailers out there.
If you’re not using SSL on your website then you should contact your web host or website provider immediately about getting that set up.
It shouldn’t be that expensive and the benefits it provides for SEO, security and trust with your visitors is well worth it.