Ranking Tips for Achieving Popularity on Google

by Rob Fleming

Ever since Google introduced Page Rank in 1998, SEO developers along with website owners worldwide have been spending countless hours trying to outdo their online competitors. It didn’t take Google long to push Inktomi along with Yahoo.com out of contention as the top authority on website ranking and the top search engine and directory. SEO experts and website owners alike were in a race to see who would be able to retain their coveted site ranking and SERPs (search engine results pages) position.

Now almost twenty years later Google has thrown another potential ranking killer into the SEO requirement mix with their announcement that they would be adding website SSL (secure socket layer) certificates into their ranking algorithm starting in early 2017. Matt Cutt’s and other Google officials stress that this new ranking element would only carry minor weight in their overall ranking measurement, however, this announcement has aggravated many SEO gurus and website owners worldwide causing a slight uproar over this new ranking requirement.

Those website owners & admins who already use SSL for their storefronts and shopping carts will only require minor adjustments to become fully compliant with this new ranking element, but for those websites who haven’t deployed SSL on their websites will now need to fork out anywhere from $175 to thousands of dollars to purchase SSL certificates and that doesn’t include the cost of modifying their web code and page structure to ensure that their SSL implementation fully works on every page within their website.

While the general consensus that adding SSL into regular websites that do not operate storefronts will add an additional layer of security and trust for website visitors as well as help identify those sites who pose a potential for fraud is a huge plus, there are still mixed reviews from SEO professional as well as many independent owners of websites, and blogs worldwide.

The primary concerns are:

  • Identifying the kind of certificate your site requires, single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Obtaining a static IP address for your shared hosting account
  • Purchasing an SSl cert or using one of the “Free” or self-signed SSL certs
  • Redesigning your website site to secure all content within your new SSL cert

There are currently a number of online security companies that offer a wide variety of security tools and applications to provide SSL certificates as well as security encryption for email and online communication such as Thawte, Comodo, Verisign, and many others. Each of these popular companies has their own individual marketing materials that are highly convincing in an effort to choose them over their competitors for purchasing security tools and applications, but before you run out and spend hundreds of dollars and possibly more, take a look at The Linux Documentation Project and their detailed and comprehensive How to guide on SSL certificates.

Along with all of the potentially expensive SSL certificate providers, there is a large number of free SSL advocates such as Let’s Encrypt, and StartCom that offer a variety of free SSL and other World accepted web encryption tools that will provide the same level of required security for SSL compliance with both Google’s new SSL ranking push as well as provide the needed encryption for online shopping sites and storefronts. I myself took advantage of StartCom for a free email signing and encryption certificate after Thawte’s Web of trust program was discontinued.

The main question with the use of these free SSL certs and other encryption tools is will they hold the same level of trust and worldwide acceptance? This very question brings to mind the vast amount of internet fraud and deception that is currently happening online, and one such article by the well known Software Review and News site Softpedia. In an article published in 2014, Softpedia exposed a popular CDN service provider and their SSL cert that allowed cybercriminals to create a worldwide email phishing scam that nearly took down the CDN provider had it not been caught by authorities before it could have caused more financial loss. To read the whole store visit Softpedia.

With every security tool and application available for honest website owners and SEO professionals comes those individuals intent on fraud and deception and wherever there is any security weakness you can be sure there is some online criminal who is set on exploiting that weakness to their advantage. The main focus in SSL certs and the security they provide potential online shoppers has been a key concern of every online sales company and individual web store owner for as long as the ability to make online purchases has been an option, and just like the initial worry of credit card users who make purchases online as new security measures and tools were designed to protect individuals and promote safety while shopping online, the new implementation of SSL certs for all websites will come with a learning curve and sooner rather than later should every website owner begin learning the facts and making responsible choices for the SSL certificate they will use to secure their websites and blogs.

Individuals who are new to making purchases online should read PC Magazine’s tips for safe online shopping, and webmasters and SEO professionals who are gearing up for the upcoming move to deploying SSL certs into their websites and blogs should take a look at this in-depth SSL tutorial by WpBeginner. As with all new SEO requirements for inclusion into Google and other search engines and web directories, it is only a question of using the best tools for the job and performing the required research to discover the correct and cost-effective methods for purchasing and deploying your sites SSL certificates.

As the new SSL cert ranking requirement becomes a thing of the past, I’m sure that every SEO provider and website owner will once again be up in arms the second that the powers that be at Google and elsewhere throw in some other seemingly far-fetched SEO requirement, and we’ll all be scrambling to be the first website to deploy these new requirements  or risk losing our coveted high Google SERPs ranking! 🙂