There’s a lot of questions around this that you will find on the web. “Does having an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate installed on my website affect how I rank in search results?” The short answer is yes, yes it does. Even with Google announcing back in 2014 about it’s ranking signal with HTTPS, I still find a lot of websites not using this incredibly useful addition to their website.
Long story short, Google’s article explains it’s position on security and how it’s their number one priority. The part that you, as a small business owner, are probably wondering about, does it matter to have an SSL certificate on my website? If you don’t do online sales, the need for an SSL certificate is lower as you’re not taking critical, sensitive information from your visitors. Having your site secure is ever more important if you do offer online sales as you’re taking credit card information from your users through your website. So after saying that, Google also mentioned that they’ll be giving priority to SSL protected websites over those that are not secured. Meaning, if you don’t have one, you’re likely going to rank a little lower than your competitors who have an SSL certificate installed.
SSL certificates work by first establishing trust between your web browser and our webserver. Your message is first encrypted with a public key that both your browser and our webserver know, then the message can only be decrypted with the private key on our webserver that only we know. This private key is not shared with anyone. In fact, if you ever learn that your private key has been shared with unknown parties or those that are known to be malicious, it’s recommended that you cycle your certificates and generate new ones to reinstall.
So by establishing trust and a level of security, Google will recognize that you’re a trusted source and thus, rank you higher than competing companies who are not utilizing SSL certificates correctly.