What is an SSL Certificate?

Have you ever noticed how sometimes websites start with “http://” and then sometimes they start with “https://” and have a green padlock nearby?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. What this means is SSL establishes an encrypted link between your web server and your visitor’s web browser.

This ensures that all data passed between the two remains private and secure.

Puppy and 2 padlocks
https and arrows

Why is having an SSL certificate important for a practice website?

Quite simply, it keeps your practice website ahead of your competition!

In the past, the only time an average web developer needed to care about SSL was on commerce sites. But that all changed in late 2014 when Google dropped a bomb:

SSL was going to be included as a ranking factor.

So any websites that use SSL certificates get a boost in the search engine rankings. It might not be a huge boost, but I think you’ll agree with me that any boost in search rankings is a good one.

All the main big veterinary related sites have an SSL certificate installed with the visible green padlock

Interestingly, not many of the corporates have invested in updating their websites to be SSL certified which immediately gives independent practices the upper hand in search engine rankings – ALWAYS a good thing!*

* Since this post was written, some of the larger corporate websites have added the secure server to their websites

Arielle BVSc MRCVS

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