Blog security… and SEO

You may have heard that securing your blog with SSL can have an effect on your search engine rankings. And yes… this is true.

Since August 2014, SSL is now a ranking factor for Google. Simply put, it now helps to have your entire blog secured using HTTPS.

And Google is pretty serious about it. In late 2017, they even warned webmasters that the Chrome browser will overly label non-HTTPS sites as “not secure”. It will do this on any site that has any input fields on it. That means any form, even a run-of-the-mill opt-in form.

The solution is simple: secure your site.

Many web hosts have reacted to this by simply providing free SSL using their SSL certificate. If that’s the case, you should be able to secure your site with nothing more than a click. If you are conducting business, I recommend you have your own an SSL certificate tied to your own domain name. Your host will sell it to you (I pay $49/year with WPEngine for this) and they’ll do the work to enable it.

Once SSL has been set up on your host, you will likely need to make a few adjustments to your WordPress site so it works correctly. Luckily, there are plugins like Really Simple SSL and WordPress SSL that can help with the nerdy stuff.

Securing your blog isn’t just a matter of making Google happy, BTW. Look at the big picture…

We have been living in a “wild wild west” of the internet for the last many years. Where seemingly anything goes… and companies and website owners have been playing pretty loose with user data.

But, the concerns for data privacy have gone up as a result. The recent hub-hub over the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) out of the European Union is a result of all that. Eventually, I expect something similar to GDPR to happen here in the U.S.

If we look at this big picture of data security and data privacy, then hopefully you realize that even as the owner of a regular ol’ blog on the internet, you have a responsibility to do your part. There are certain things you should be doing to safeguard data privacy if you are collecting any kind of user data. But, that’s another topic. However…

Implementing SSL on your blog means a secure connection between your server and your reader. It is just another point of responsibility for the overall environment of the Internet that we all operate in here.

So, I hope you can see it that way.

Yes, Google is trying to sway you to secure your domain by making it count in search. But, this is one of those things you should probably be doing anyway.

As I mentioned above, the best way is to purchase a SSL certificate for your domain from your host and have them set it up. Some hosts provide a free option, using their SSL certificate, and you can use that if they have it.

Either way, it’s just a good idea. For a few reasons.

– David