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What is an SSL Certificate?

Learn all about digital marketing, we have built this glossary to help you understand everything to thrive in online marketing and promoting your website or business.

What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL certificate, or Secure Sockets Layer certificate, is a data file hosted in a website's origin server. It enables the encryption of information that users enter into websites, ensuring it can't be intercepted by hackers on networks the data passes across before it gets to the server.
When a web browser contacts your secured website, the SSL certificate enables an encrypted connection. It’s like sealing a letter in an envelope before sending it through the mail.
SSL certificates also inspire trust in your visitors. They see that your site is secure and that you’re taking steps to keep their personal information safe. Web users have come to associate 'https' and the padlock icon in the address bar as a sign of a trustworthy company or website.
The role of SSL Certificates in Digital Marketing
SSL Certificates are crucial in digital marketing. Google has, since 2014, been using SSL as a ranking signal. So, having an SSL certificate installed can give your site a slight ranking advantage in Google's search engine results pages (SERPs).
Besides, websites without SSL certificates display a 'Not Secure' warning in the address bar, which can adversely impact the trustworthiness of your business and influence bounce rates. In contrast, having an SSL certificate will display a padlock icon, instilling confidence in your visitors.
Additionally, SSL certificates serve as a trust indicator to consumers, especially in an era where data breaches and cyber threats are rampant. Therefore, it's a vital part of building and maintaining your business's online reputation and customer trust.
SSL Certificate examples
There are several types of SSL certificates, each with specific features and benefits. These include Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificates, which offer basic encryption and verification of the ownership of the domain name.
Then we have the Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificates. It provides a medium level of encryption, verifies the ownership of the domain name, and checks some details about the owner.
Lastly, Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates offer the same features as OV SSL Certificates but involve a more rigorous validation process. This SSL certificate makes the address bar turn green in major browsers, representing the highest level of trust to visitors.