There’s no way to dismiss how important Google is to the continued success of your business’s web presence. The search giant commands a towering 77% of search engine market share and more people are using their browser (Chrome) than the top three browser competitors combined. In this post, I’ll share why ssl certificates are important to Google and why the search giant wants you to install an one on your website, and why not doing so is bad for business.
The research project becomes a profitable enterprise
Back in 1995, two Stanford University Ph.D. students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, began a research project. They wanted to understand what the link structure of the web looked like as a graph.
A year later, Page released his first web crawler. Coupled with an algorithm, the pair set out to find which web pages linked back to Page’s own Standford page and convert that data into a measurement of importance.
What started out as a research project turned into a highly profitable business. The search giant recently reported $26.01 billion in revenue in the second quarter of this year, up from $21.5 billion a year ago.
They’re bigger than you think
But why does this matter to you, your business or your website? Google commands just over three quarters of search engine market share, and as market share goes, that’s a sizable chunk.
But search engine market share isn’t the only reason why Google is so important. The release of Google’s Chrome browser in 2008 helped entrench the titan’s position. Today, Chrome is used by 64% of browser market share.
Having a footprint as large as this means that they can set the rules that every website wanting to be found on their search engine must play by.
SSL certificates are not the most complex products in the world. Yes, they are responsible for encrypting and decrypting sensitive data, but they also perform other functions that most people are unaware of.
Before we get into the reason why Google wants you to have an SSL certificate, here’s a brief description of what an SSL certificate is:
SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is the standard security technology used to create an encrypted connection between a web server and your browser. The encrypted connection ensures that all data that is sent between your browser and the web server stays private and isn’t tampered with by anyone.
A basic illustration of an SSL connection
Now that you have a basic understanding of what SSL certificates are and what they do, here’s why your website needs one.
Google’s getting serious about internet security
Cybercrime is serious business. According to Statista, over 14,000 fake websites posing as legitimate businesses were found in the fourth quarter of 2014, and the number is growing.
Google announced that it would be enforcing strong internet security measures to protect its users. The measures include notifying users whether the site they are visiting is “Secure” or “Not Secure”.
What does that mean?
A website without an SSL certificate has basic (and unsecured) HTTP connection looks like this in your browser:
A website with an SSL certificate shows an HTTPS connection, like this:
The two major reasons why Google is taking website security so seriously are:
When its users visit an HTTP (unsecured) website, there’s no way to verify that they’re connected to the right server. For example, you might think you’ve accessed your bank’s online banking portal, but you could actually be on a compromised network that’s redirecting you to a fake website.
While this may seem like a hypothetical situation, fake websites are popping up almost every day. Recently, free SSL provider Let’s Encrypt came under fire for issuing over 14,000 domain validated SSL certificates to fake sites that included “PayPal” in their domain names.