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SSL LockThanks for all of the positive feedback on the full moon / lunar eclipse images… they seem to be a hit.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how sites that adopt full SSL (everything in https) may start to see higher search rankings from Google. (Read the article here >>)

After doing a little bit more research, there’s another issue with SSL, site visitors and search rankings:

If you have ever had an SSL certificate on your site, but the certificate is now expired, you may be losing the 63% of Web visitors who use the Chrome or Safari browsers.  Even if you’re not using SSL on your site.

Why? Read more below>>

Expired SSL Certificates:
They can drive away visitors without you knowing…

If you’ve ever had an SSL certificate on your site, but it’s now expired, it may be hurting you… a lot more than you might realize.  This is true even if you aren’t collecting sensitive information on the site, or have any SSL / https pages.

By default, if someone types in your Website address into the Chrome or Safari browser, those systems will check and see if the SSL certificate is invalid.

If it is valid, you will likely be taken to the home page in a non-encrypted, non-SSL session.

But if it’s invalid, those two browsers are going to show an error message.  Even if you’re trying to go to a non-SSL website.

I found this out on a live customer’s site, but for public shaming reasons I don’t want to list it here.

So instead, I’ve used a domain that we don’t use very often, but did have an SSL certificate in place many years ago.

Here’s what happened when I tried to visit www.6cp.com in my browser:

SSL Warning for non-https session

Notice that I wasn’t trying to go to the https: version of the site.

The system gave me an error, and basically told me not to go to the site.  Here’s more detail:

SSL Detailed Certificate
So if your site’s SSL has expired, even if you’re not using secure pages, you need to renew it, or see your conversion rate and user traffic drop.

How does this affect SEO?

This affects SEO, because any time site visitors click to go from a Google search results page to your site, they will likely click the “Back” button if they see this error message.

In the SEO world, this is known as a bounce rate.  And sites with high bounce rates often have bad search engine rankings.  (Because if people don’t want to stay on your site, Google picks other sites to feature that are more engaging.)

How many people does this really affect?

According to the latest July 2014 Internet Browser Statistics, the Chrome browser commands 59.8% of the marketshare.  Firefox is next with a 24.9%, while Internet Explorer lags with 8.5%.  Safari is used by just 3.5% of the Web browsing population.

Browser Stats - July 2014


However, if you click on the “Continue” button, you will go to the main site and won’t see an error again (unless you switch to a different computer).

Let me know if you’d like us to test this issue for you…

Until next time,

Jeff FinkelsteinFounder, Customer Paradigm
Jeff Finkelstein
Founder, Customer Paradigm


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5353 Manhattan Circle, Suite 103
Boulder, Colorado 80303
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