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SSL matters for SEO

HTTPS on every page – especially for vape, cigar, and FFL sites

Selling electronic cigarettes online? You need to implement https (or “SSL”) on every page. Does your website sell cigars, alcohol or firearms and depend on organic search traffic to get customers? Well then yep, you need your site to show https on EVERY page too.

You need an SSL on EVERY page because Google already puts a grey warning next to your URL in Chrome without one, and soon, VERY soon, it will become a red warning “!” – telling not only your potential clients that your site is not safe – but equally importantly – telling Google that your site is not trustworthy and should not be ranked as high as if it were.

So, in reality, all e-commerce sites need to show https in the address bar. It’s just that if you run a high-risk site like a vape, FFL, cigar, or online alcohol store you need to care about it even more than most because your options for non-organic traffic options are often far more limited. The major search engines already filter high-risk online businesses like FFL, Vape, Alcohol, and cigars regarding online advertising- making organic traffic and SSL implementation all the more critical. Now is the time to upgrade your e-commerce website security to ensure you aren’t hurting your rankings.

It might seem more natural to you to have an SSL only on sensitive, or credit card processor required areas like checkout pages – this is no longer best practices. With Google now making a strong statement on SSL, staying on top of SEO and how it relates to site reputation and security should be one of the highest priorities for your e-commerce business. A little extra effort can go a long way.

If you run an e-commerce website and it is still HTTP and not HTTPS, fix it now too. You are hurting your SEO rankings. Google and other search engines are always refining their algorithms, search parameters and ranking systems to improve the experience for all of its users. This means that you, the website manager or business owner, must work refine your website to those parameters whenever there is a change.

If you haven’t noticed, security is at the forefront of everyone’s mind when it comes to e-commerce or even just regular web browsing. For this reason, most experts believe Google has been using your websites ability to communicate securely as a growing factor in its ranking since 2014.

Securing your website means knowing some terms

These days it’s not enough to trust that your site is secure, you need to make sure you understand the lingo or you’re asking for trouble. You probably hear a lot of shop talk and abbreviations for all sorts of industries- and one of the most convoluted gobbledygook laden sectors is tech and software.

What do SSL, TLS, and HTTPS stand for?

A standard term these days is SSL, which is the term used for website and email security and encryption, but the specifics behind SSL are essential to know for any webmaster or e-commerce business owner. SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer” and is a basic and outdated encryption technique for communications online. It has survived by being the most common way to talk about online encryption, though actual SSL encryption is no longer secure. This does not mean your SSL is useless. It means your SSL probably isn’t actually SSL, it’s TLS.

TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. Additionally, when you are selecting security for your webmail, you may have a choice between SSL or TLS, in reality, this is not about the type of encryption, but rather the method in which your website connects with various servers and exchanges information. This is called the “handshake” which begins the encryption process. SSL is secured “by port” for preselected ports ready to negotiate encryption. TLS is secured “by protocol” for unsecured initial connections that then are encrypted once a secure connection is established on both ends.

For a more clear and detailed explanation read this article from the blog HostingAdvice or this one from a website service business called Sang Froid Web. As for the meaning of https, when your site has a properly installed SSL certificate, the address bar next to your URL will read HTTPS, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Want one more? URL is your website address, and it stands for universal resource locator!

Is this new?

Yes and no. While most of this info is not new by any means, it’s important to understand how things are changing now. A major recent development in this story is that Google and SEO experts are now recommending to have SSL on every page of your website, whereas before it was mostly only important to have it included on your checkout pages and member info or payment option pages. These days it will hurt you to have any insecure pages on your website, so we are recommending that you set up security for your entire website, instead of just the areas of sensitive information. This can make a huge difference now in your SEO rankings especially on Google, the most popular search engine in the world.

Where do you get an SSL?

Generally, your web hosting company or developer can provide one, often at little or no additional charge. If they do not, and you need one click here for a recommendation.

So what can you do to beef up your security and help your SEO?

Well, the first step would be to figure out how to get your website secured with HTTPS, this might be as simple as calling your webmaster, it might be a bit more complicated if you use a 3rd party proxy host like Sucuri (who is awesome by the way). There are many SEO and site builders out there who can help you if you aren’t the most back-end savvy user. If you need help finding someone to help we can recommend a few people who are great with SEO and website development, feel free to contact us anytime using the form below. And of course, if you need a high-risk payment gateway or a credit card processing recommendation for your electronic cigarette, FFL to FFL, cigar, or online alcohol site, we can help.