Search giants Google have recently announced that they are now using the presence of an SSL certificate as a factor in deciding where a site should appear in their listings.
An SSL certificate is what enables websites to have "https" at the beginning of the web address rather than "http". You will have seen this in many places, for example when doing online banking, using Facebook, or buying from Amazon. What this means in practice is that any data flowing between that site and your computer is sent in such a way that it is unreadable to anyone that tries to intercept that data in between those two points.
What Google are doing now is looking favourably upon any site, large or small, that utilises this technology. Currently, this will only have a small impact on where a site is ranked, but the suggestions are that this will increase over time as webmasters have a chance to implement these changes.
What does this mean if you have a website? Well, if the position of your site in Google is important to you and your business, then it means that you should be planning on introducing SSL encryption to your site in the short to medium term. If / when Google increase the significance of this in their rankings, you don't want to find your well placed site fall down their index below your competitors.
Installing an SSL certificate on a web site is a fairly straightforward exercise. If you would like assistance with this, please feel free to contact us and we'll do our best to help!