WordPress SSL Installation and Its Importance for SEO

WordPress SSL Installation and Its Importance for SEO

“What is SSL, what is the prominence of SSL in terms of Google and SEO, how to install and redirect it, what are the WordPress plugins that make SSL installation easier, what are the things to do after SSL installation?” You can find the answers to your questions in this article.

What is SSL and Why is it Important?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), the predecessor of Transport Layer Security (TLS: Transport Layer Security) and stands for Secure Socket/Input Layer; It is an encrypted protocol that provides secure connection and communication on a computer network.

SSL technology creates a secure connection between the website and the internet browser. In this way, the data is encrypted and protected in the communication between the server and the receiver. With the SSL certificate, identity, password and payment information are prevented from falling into the hands of third parties. You can secure your information by choosing sites with SSL certificates while shopping online.

You can tell whether a website has an SSL system or not by the green lock icon in the search bar (note to the editor: the relevant icon can be added here). If we list the general features of the SSL certificate, which consists of a standard algorithm;

  • The certificate bears the title of the institution.
  • The certificate has a specific serial number and expiration date.
  • Firstly, It is the public key of the certificate owner (It is a kind of digital signature that verifies the person and information of the certificate.)
  • Secondly, It is the electronic signature of the issuing institution (ECSP – Electronic Certificate Service Provider).
  • Thirdly, and most importantly, It provides security and confidentiality during data encoding and decryption.
  • Moreover, It confirms the accuracy of the data sender and the data recipient.
  • However, It facilitates document archiving and validates the date and time.
  • It secures the data of website visitors.
  • The SSL symbol gives confidence to users, which positively affects website traffic.
  • Search engines give priority to SSL-certified websites, which contributes positively to SEO studies.

The Importance of SSL for Google and SEO

As of June 2018, Google began to warn users visiting websites that do not have SSL certificates that the sites are not secure. With Google becoming one of the ranking factors in search results, all websites nowadays need to have a Secure Sockets Layer certificate.

Offering SEO tools and resources, Ahrefs measured the contribution of SSL to SEO by analyzing the top 10 thousand domains. Before moving on to the research results, let’s take a look at the concepts of HTTP and HTTPS.

HTTP, which stands for Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol; It is a type of protocol that provides information and data transfer in the internet environment. It is a method used in the request-response system between client computers and servers where information is provided.

HTTPS, which stands for Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure, is an SSL encryption used for secure communication over the network. The results of the research, which analyzed the effect of SSL certificates (HTTPS) on search engine ranking results (SEO), are as follows:

  • Only 1 out of 10 websites have a flawless HTTPS setup.
  • 60% of websites do not use SSL.
  • 1 out of every 4 domains (23.6%) does not have a canonical (accepted and standardized by the search engine authority) HTTPS version.
  • 302 Temporary redirects are used instead of 301 Permanent redirects in 1 of every 4 domains.

In addition to all these, the results of the research show that 65% of the websites do not have the correct SSL setup. So, how to make a perfect SSL setup in terms of SEO?

How to Setup SSL for Your WordPress Based Website?

When you buy a domain from a hosting company such as Hosting, the Secure Sockets Layer certificate is offered as an extra option in the administration panel. After purchasing, you can install SSL in a few minutes. The annual fee of the standard SSL certificate, which makes your website a secure connection with 128 or 256-bit encryption, is between 50 – 150 TL.

The average annual fee of the Wildcard (wide-range) SSL certificate, which makes your entire website, including your subdomains, able to establish a secure connection with 256-bit encryption, varies between 300 – 600 TL. Click here for your questions about Secure Sockets Layer installation and the best price offers. When purchasing an SSL certificate for your website, you can use the known RapidSSL, Comodo, GlobalSign or GeoTrust etc. with 256 bit or higher encryption value. Brands are recommended.

In this setup, it is sufficient to send your server IP, username and password to the domain and hosting company from which you purchased the certificate.

Step-by-Step WordPress SSL Installation and Redirection

You can also manually install WordPress SSL yourself. For this, you can follow the steps below in order.

  • Buy an SSL certificate from the domain and hosting company and activate it for your domain.
  • Log in to the WordPress panel.
  • Click General in the Settings section.
  • Type your HTTPS address in the WordPress address (URL) field. Example: https://www.atakdomain.com
  • Do the same for the site address (URL). Example: https://www.atakdomain.com
  • Whole the procedure by clicking the “Save Changes” button.

Manual WordPress SSL redirection from HTTP to HTTPS after installation:

  • If you are using Apache, paste the code below into the .htaccess file in the home directory.

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine On RewriteCond%{SERVER_PORT} 80

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://yourdomain.com/$1 [R,L]

</IfModule>

  • If you are using Nginx web server, enter your domain name by typing the following code in the config file.
  • To add SSL and HTTPS to your WordPress site admin area or login pages, you need to configure SSL in the wp-config.php file. Open wp-config.php and click “That’s it. Happy blogging!” Add the following code just above the line that says:

Define(‘FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true);

Don’t forget to change your site address to HTTPS prefix from Settings>General in the WordPress dashboard.

htaccess redirect, you redirect your website to default HTTPS. Despite all this, if you encounter routing problems, you can find a solution by using post-installation plugins.

Important Note: Before installing SSL, do not forget to log in to hosting and make a backup. In this way, if your website does not open in case of an error, you will not lose your data.

WordPress Plugins to Make Your Job Easier in SSL Installation

After purchasing the SSL certificate, you need to perform the installation process. You can use plugins that allow you to easily make the necessary SSL changes.

Check for installation errors: Perform final checks to ensure all internal URLs have been migrated to HTTPS. For this, JitBit, etc. You can easily check SSL using applications. You can use the Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin to fix bad URLs. After downloading and activating the plugin, apply the following changes. Then double-check for HTTP URLs with the JitBit app. You can also use SSL Insecure Content Fixer or Better Search Replace plugins to check and quickly fix incorrect links.

Really Simple SSL: With this plugin, you don’t have to deal with extra installation and activation processes by making the necessary changes in the .htaccess file automatically. After installing the plugin, click Settings > SSL from the WordPress administration panel. Go to the settings section, select the fields below, and click the save button.

WordPress HTTPS (SSL): With this speed and performance-oriented plugin, you can easily set up your SSL. (Click for the installation guide.)

Checklist: Must-Do After Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS

After SSL setup for your website, Google, Bing etc. You need to submit your sitemap by logging into your webmaster accounts belonging to search engines and entering your site address with the HTTPS extension. The most important point you should pay attention to at this stage is not to delete your HTTP connection.

  • Google Search Console: Add the HTTPS:// extension of your website and your sitemaps by clicking the “Add feature” option without deleting the old link with the HTTP extension.
  • Google Analytics: Change your connection starting with HTTP in Google Analytics or other statistical tools to HTTPS to avoid losing statistical data. If you have linked your website in Google Search Console to the Google Analytics property, you must link it again after switching to HTTPS to transfer your data in Search Console to your Google Analytics account. To move your website address from HTTP to HTTPS in Google Analytics, follow these steps: Sign in>Admin>Property>Property Settings>Default URL>https://
  • Update the URL structures of the ads by replacing them with your new HTTPS:// extension. (Google AdWords, Facebook, Yandex, Bing, etc.)
  • Make sure the file is accessible by updating the links that start with HTTP in the robots.txt file to HTTPS.
  • If you are using the WordPress Disqus comment plugin, move your comments from HTTP to your HTTPS address.
  • If you are using e-mail marketing software, update your website links to HTTPS.
  • Update the website address that you added to your social media accounts to HTTPS. (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, Youtube, etc.)
  • Check all the menu, image, URL, and indirect links on your website and update it as HTTPS.
  • Do not delete your old sitemap from webmaster tools for 30 days.
  • Make sure all your URLs and backlinks are working properly by checking them.

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