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22 Sep 2014
SSL Transition

Tricks for An Easy SSL Transition

Google has favored SSL sites more and more as of late. Only a few months ago, Google Developers began their HTTPS Everywhere campaign, arguing that all internet pages, sites, and content should be secured – by default. And now, they’ve come right out and said it: sites with SSL are going to get better rankings, and these will only increase as more businesses jump on the bandwagon.

Transitioning – Slow and Steady!

Many web developers, however, have been hesitant to embrace this new change. Transitioning to SSL isn’t as easy as slapping an electronic certificate on your homepage – it’s renewing the entire platform your site’s .html rests upon. And yet, it is an extremely important precaution to use, particularly in the wake of the Heartbleed bug – which resulted in over 900 Social Security numbers being hacked, publicized warnings from Tumblr, Google, and Facebook that asked users to change their passwords immediately, and a highlighted  5% of top-level domain sites around the world showing vulnerability to such bugs. An internet-wide movement to SSL would help make it harder for bugs such as Heartbleed  to hack into various sites.

By transitioning to SSL you’ll also be ahead of the curve. Currently, only ⅓ of websites have an SSL certificate, making it easy to help your site stand out in a good way. Now, visitors to your website will not only feel safe navigating the pages of your site, giving your their personal information, and processing their credit cards for your services, but it will also be clear to them that you made an effort to make a more secure, safe experience for them, and that you greatly value their security, privacy, and online well-being.

A Solution for All Industries

And don’t think that SSL is only important if your company handles banking information, important passwords, or credit information. SSL also isn’t only necessary for sites that handle sensitive information that would be detrimental if placed in the wrong hands – even basic privacy can make your whole web-browsing experience a lot better.

“There’s a reason the title is “HTTPS Everywhere,” Ilya Grigorik, a web developer for Google and spokesperson for the “SSL Everywhere” campaign told a crowd of people at the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco this summer. “We should be using secure by default communications for all communications everywhere.That includes my playlists, the news articles I read, and all the things I do online, because while it seems like individually, the metadata that you can gather by looking at unencrypted sites is benign, when you put it all together, it reveals a lot about my intent – it can actually compromise my privacy.”

The security an SSL certificate would offer yourself and your page’s visitors makes the transition an easy win-win, but there are some pitfalls you can make in the transition process. Because of it’s in-depth nature, one small mistake could result in a site-wide redirect. This is a change that will make your whole site better if done right – but can ruin your rankings, stilt your outreach, devalue your keywords, and hit you with various penalties, if done wrong. And like most implementations that affect the ever-changing Google Algorithm, this update is no exception to the “sooner, the better” rule.

What to Expect

In this process, you’re going to have to take several steps, including understanding what kind of certificate you’ll specifically need, creating a Certificate Signing Request, purchasing and installing the certificate, and migrating your entire site – landing pages and all – to your new HTTPS platform. It’s important to follow these steps very carefully and to be thorough – this is not an overnight modification. You may even want to bring in outside help to make this transition an easier process and to provide a knowledgable trouble shooter to keep you on track, be they a trusted SSL Certificate Authority, your own personal IT team, or the company that hosts your website. GoDaddy has been well-known for helping and supporting their customers through the entire SSL transition to ensure everything was done correctly.

Here’s an in-depth guide to help you understand exactly what this transition means, and how to conduct the change in a way that will only boost your rankings and make your site safer.

SSL Transition

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Search engine marketing expert with 15 years of experience in the industry, working with small mom and pop shops as well as large corporate websites. I have experience with all aspects of inbound marketing, including SEO, Link Building, Social Shares, Usability, Conversions, PPC, Email Marketing, and more.