No matter what industry you're in, a secure website is crucial; the automotive remarketing industry is no exception. Before we talk more about your used car dealership, allow us to tell you a little bit more about why website security is so important. Whether a business is large or small, everyone needs to lock down their website to make their customers feel more at ease knowing their information is safe. Surprisingly, many don't due to a lack of awareness surrounding the risks and consequences involved.
Many small businesses think they're too tiny to be noticed by hackers. On the contrary, they're the easiest targets. What exactly does it mean to have a "secure website"? In layman's terms; if someone says, "our website is secure" they are saying that their website uses something called SSL, short for Secure Sockets Layer. They're also referring to TLS, Transport Layer Security, an updated and more secure version of SSL. This secures by encrypting information across transit to its destination, the server.
This is the S in httpS that you see in front of some websites and guarantees the web visitor their information is private between themselves and the website they are visiting. They know that there is no "man-in-the-middle" stealing their private data. It is an extra level of confidence given to a customer when they are at a dealership's website.
You don't need to worry about the full technical side of how everything works in the background. You do need to know SSL/TLS encrypts your incoming and outgoing traffic from your customer's computer or mobile device all the way through to the web server hosting the website. Have you ever seen that little padlock icon in the search bar of a browser? That indicates that traffic is encrypted.
For example, no sensitive incoming or outgoing information such as credit card details, usernames, or passwords can be intercepted. Think of SSL as the lifeblood of internet security, safeguarding private information as it travels from one side of the Earth to the other. Even if it's not wearing its cape and spandex leggings, this hero still provides privacy, data integrity, and crucial security for both the business and its customers/clients.
Security aside, did you know that SSL/TLS-secure websites are vital for SEO purposes? Search Engines, Google in particular, care a lot about their users. If sites are not secure, search engines do not want to expose web visitors to those insecure websites. In other words, they will do everything in their power to make sure that website does not show up on the first page of the Search Engine Result Pages, SERPs. Your goal should be to show on the first page of SERPs! Let's face it, how many people actually go past that page? Do you go past the first page of SERPs when you are searching for something? Search Engines will stay away from your website like the plague without SSL/TLS on your website.
Boosting your car dealer website's security is a surefire way to promote more traffic, sales, and loyal customers. It's really quite simple. Enabling SSL/TLS on your website is a proven way to improve your Google Ranking and get in front of more car buyers, at the right time, for the right reasons.
Facts don't lie. In 2014, Google themselves confirmed that they would begin boosting rankings exclusively for HTTPS sites. "Over the past few months, we've been running tests; taking into account whether websites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms," said Google via the Social Media network, Twitter.
"We've seen positive results, so we're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. Over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we'd like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web."
This decision forms part of Google's greater effort to make the internet a safer and more secure place for all.
Secure websites WILL show up higher in Google Search Results, plain and simple. Higher placements will be provided to online businesses who take the initiative to safeguard themselves and their customers against hackers.
All of this is good and well, but failing to secure your site has much more serious consequences. Did you know that two of the TOP web browsers globally, Chrome and Firefox, will soon be NAMING and SHAMING not secure websites? Yikes! Don't let your website be shamed!
As of July 2018, Google's Chrome browser, in particular, will start branding websites as "not secure" when visitors surf the web and visit sites that are HTTP and not HTTPS.
They need an uncompromised GUARANTEE that their experience on your website will be free from trouble. Thankfully, for Google, approximately 81 out of 100 websites are now using HTTPS. However, this number is still not high enough; meaning, countless people are still at risk.
Is your car dealership one of them?
With the world becoming more and more secure, consumers are starting to expect to see SSL certificates on all websites, even if not consciously knowing. Internet users are becoming accustomed to seeing them all over the place; when one site in one hundred fails to offer the level of security they naturally expect in today's world, it's painfully obvious. As a car dealership, it's not just your job to build trust between you and your valued customers, it's your duty!
Internet users and consumers are becoming more and more tech-savvy with regards to online security. As we mentioned, both Chrome and Firefox are pointing fingers at not secure website owners. With this brutal reality staring you in the face, can you afford to put your reputation at risk?
Do you really want your customers to lose faith in your dealership and living in fear that their private information may be stolen by hackers? The answer is simple, NO you don't. A car dealership's browser should never have the words "NOT SECURE" plastered on its face, but very few website providers are offering HTTPS services for their websites.
Every consumer is anxious about the world-wide web's security risks. After all, Identity Theft is the number one complaint made by consumers to the Federal Trade Commission annually for the past 13 years. While different browsers show their SSL certificates in varying ways; one thing is for sure, it can be immediately noticed without any effort.
Red is used just like a traffic light to indicate you to "STOP" before fully entering the webpage. It's often also accompanied by big red words that scream "WARNING! THIS SITE IS NOT SECURE!" It gives the user the options to either "Get me out of here" or continue on to the site. Most users will choose "get me out of here." Do you want to be that dealership? Don't lose your leads and receive that embarrassment.
At the end of the day, if your car dealership's website is not HTTPS and does not have SSL/TLS, it's time to change your website hosting provider.
AutoCorner provides SSL/TLS secure websites for all of our dealerships included in our standard package. You've worked to the bone to get your car dealership off the ground. Let's work together to make sure it never goes back down to the ground ever again.