What Is an SSL Certificate and Why Is It Essential for Your B2B Website?
An SSL certificate is absolutely necessary for B2B websites, especially if customers have the option to make purchases online. SSL certificates have been around since the mid-90s. Back then, they were nice to have, but not necessary for most websites. However, for over a year, Google has explicitly punished websites for not having active security certificates. This may have caused a major impact on your B2B website or blog. Luckily, SSL certificates aren’t difficult to add to your already existing site.
A What Certificate?
Wait a minute, what the heck is an SSL certificate anyway?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is the underlying technology that powers the SSL certificate and forces websites to confirm the site owner’s identity. Once confirmed, the certificate allows users to make secure and encrypted connections to your website. This is especially important when visitors need to make B2B purchases using credit card information.
We can simplify that.
An SSL certificate ensures websites are who they say they are, so that customers are safe while interacting with them.
What Does It Do?
SSL certificates don’t just make B2B website visitors feel safe. The security certificates actually protect users.
Encrypts Sensitive Information
Did you know the information you send via the internet travels through multiple computers and systems before arriving to your intended recipient? Along the way, there are multiple opportunities for your information to be revealed to hackers and other unsavory actors.
An SSL certificate encrypts the data you send online, meaning that no one, other than the secured website you are interacting with, is able to see any of the information. Even if it is intercepted by hackers, they will not have the encryption key necessary to access the information. So, your information remains safe and secure.
Adds the Secure Padlock Next to Your URL
When someone visits a website and it has an SSL certificate, they will see a padlock icon next to the URL. Additionally, the URL will say “https://” instead of “http://” at the beginning.
The padlock informs users that the site they are on is encrypted and safe to interact with. More importantly, if you do not have a padlock, users are likely to see warning messages alerting them that your site status is “not secure”.
In Google Chrome, that message looks like this:
And in Safari, it looks like this:
Scary messages like these are huge red flags to B2B buyers and will cause severe harm to your website traffic.
Allows Your Website to Accept Credit Card Payments
If the giant warning messages weren’t enough to turn away potential customers, not being able to use their credit cards will stop them in their tracks. Without a properly installed SSL certificate, B2B websites that rely on revenue from online bulk sales are out of luck. Fortunately, the cheapest SSL certificates can be purchased for less than $10.
While some SSL certificates are free, we recommend purchasing a basic Domain Validated SSL certificate for small B2B business websites and blogs or an Organization Validated SSL certificate for large B2B e-commerce sites.
More expensive options, ranging from the hundreds to even thousands of dollars, also exist. However, SSL certificates in that price range are designed for entities like banks and other financial institutions.
Why Is It So Important?
There are many reasons why an SSL certificate should be a high-level priority for your B2B website. Not only does the added security allow for online transactions, safe information sharing, and a better user experience, it can also help your site’s traffic increase.
SSL Affects SEO and Increases Organic Traffic
While plenty of web traffic may come to a site from marketing emails or from posts on social media, a significant number of people will discover your content by using a search engine like Google. This type of website traffic is called organic traffic.
Google uses algorithms to determine which websites show up for what searches. Creating content that adheres to the desires of Google’s algorithms is called Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO. Having an SSL certificate is one of the factors Google uses to positively impact a site’s SEO. That means that an SSL certificate will lead to your website pages ranking higher in the results of search queries.
Users Bounce from Unsecure Sites
Another major factor that affects SEO and a site’s ranking in Google search results is “time on site” which is determined by how long average users stay on your site. This is a major ranking factor for Google searches. And, that’s bad news for unsecured web pages. A site without an SSL certificate will see the majority of users click away immediately due to warning messages, causing the “time on site” score to negatively impact your site’s ranking in Google searches.
If users do decide to stick around, they are unlikely to visit other pages, which affects another major ranking factor called “bounce rate.” The bounce rate factor is determined by how many users view only one page on your site before exiting the site.
Lacking an SSL certificate will severely hamper both of these ranking factors which has a major impact on organic website traffic.
Fix It Now. We Can Help.
An SSL certificate is hardly an option for B2B websites in 2019. It is a must-have for any business, blog, or organization’s site. A properly installed SSL certificate will lead to more online sales, more user trust, and a drastically lower chance of having your users’ information hacked or spied on by malicious third parties. Not only that, but an SSL certificate will actually increase your site’s visibility and performance on Google.
Barry Armbruster - Parter | Owner | Creative
- Resident B2B Expert
- First agency position in 1997, joined Nichols in 2002
- Splits time between creative leadership and account service
- Remembers every detail about clients and their businesses
- Coffee connoisseur, music enthusiast and fair-weather runner