Trust plays a critical role in lawyer/client relationships and a lawyer’s ability to acquire and retain clients. The same holds true in the online world as well. Visitors to your website need to trust that your site is safe and secure to browse. Additionally, search engines like Google place greater value on websites that make the extra effort to ensure their visitors are viewing a safe site.
In today’s age of Internet hackers, spammers, spoofing, and phony sites, it is not only responsible to secure your website but it is a distinct advantage as well.
A Brief History of SSL
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, but don’t let technical jargon get in the way of knowing what goes into making your HTTPS site secure.
A site’s SSL certificate plays a critical role in site security. An SSL certificate authenticates a website’s identity and it’s the technology that encrypts the data sent to the server. Many website hosts compare the SSL certificate to an electronic passport that certifies one’s online identity.
A few years back, SSL vaulted onto the tech scene after a virus capable of reading sensitive information on third-party sites became public. The virus allowed individuals–many with nefarious intent–to observe traffic over non-encrypted connections and hijack the data. Fortunately, the virus was eliminated and the world wide web relaxed…but only momentarily.
The virus served as a wake up call. Properly encrypting user information and securing a website has become a factor for search engine rankings and visibility. Search engines, such as Google Chrome, now display a clear warning when internet users reach a site that does not display the now familiar SSL green lock in the site’s URL.
A Change From HTTP to HTTPS
HTTP stands for hyper-transfer protocol. In standard English, hyper transfer protocol is a protocol that allows two devices to communicate. The most common HTTP use involves transferring data from web servers to a web browser for web page viewing. Websites begin their URL with “http://www.name.com”.
HTTPS stands for hyper-transfer protocol secure. And when it comes to gaining the trust of online visitors and customers, that security is a guard against those who seek to mine your data for personal gain, while sometimes harming those whose information they steal.
With a non-HTTPS site, all data that passes through is not secure. An HTTPS site encrypts the information, making it nearly impossible for online criminals to gain access to sensitive information. Having HTTPS encryption is especially important for sites that accept online payments, login areas that require user credentials, and even sensitive personal information through simple contact forms.
Why should you make the change to HTTPS?
Switching to HTTPS provides two major benefits. The first is a boost in search engine rankings. As the call for secure protocols gets louder, the positive search engine effects will also get louder.
The second major benefit is security, obviously. Providing a safe and secure site not only gives your visitors confidence they are browsing a reputable and credible website, but also ensures any information they share with you from the website is secure.
Google prefers secure sites. For some, that’s reason enough to switch. Once a site obtains an SSL certificate and becomes HTTP secured, the SSL certificate provider becomes a trusted third-party that signals to Google that your website is legitimate, trusted and secure. In other words, it verifies that the site is exactly what it claims to be.
The upgrade process to SSL involves a variety of factors and should be done by a person familiar with SEO, 301 redirects, and Google’s Search Console. If you are an attorney or law firm and have questions about upgrading to SSL, please contact Bardorf Legal Marketing.