How Multifamily Website Encryption Can Enhance Your SEO
Encrypted multifamily websites are important because they protect information. In the case of multifamily properties, that information may be sensitive data collected about the members of your community. But did you know that there’s a multifamily SEO impact, too?
Google encourages websites to facilitate encrypted traffic (“HTTPS” is the protocol’s name; you may have seen it in your browser’s location bar from time to time). In short, a small ranking bonus may be given to sites that offer HTTPS connectivity.
HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, encrypts communications between your website’s server and the consumer’s web browser. This ensures the information sent between the server and browser cannot be intercepted or spied on.
HTTPS essentially provides encryption on your multifamily website so that no one can see what is happening; it also provides authentication for your site.
This comes on the heels of increasing indications that the general public is being snooped by hackers, governments, corporate spies, and other ne’er-do-wells. Companies like Google generate revenue from platforms built upon user trust, and such sketchy invasions of online privacy hurt Google’s business model.
By giving a potential apartment SEO bonus to encrypted multifamily websites, Google is making this often optional practice into one that makes business sense for everyone, even if you’re not taking credit cards, passwords, or other sensitive data.
Should my multifamily website use HTTPS?
In short: absolutely.
If your multifamily website is handling user data at all, some would argue there’s a moral imperative to protect that data. If you’ve got a form on your website that asks for any info from a current or potential resident, even if it’s what size dog they’ve got, that information could be potentially used by a clever third party.
Plus, it’s a sign of trustworthiness. If future residents recognize that you protect their data before their rent is due, they’re more likely to trust you with other things. Like, for example, their home.
Plus, Google’s giving you bonus points. Sure, there’s not much of a bonus today, but the cost of a Transport Layer Security (TLS)/Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is generally inconsequential for a multifamily SEO bonus. You should get this going if you care about your multifamily websites appearing in search engines.
Am I using HTTPS for my multifamily website?
So are you capitalizing on this opportunity? Well, let’s see.
Go to your website.
Depending on your browser, you might notice subtle cues in your location bar that highlight whether the site you’re viewing is encrypted (i.e. it begins with https://) or unencrypted (also called “plain text,” with URLs beginning with http://). If your multifamily website URL begins with “https://” and you see no errors, then you’re encrypted.
If your site begins with “http://”, try placing an “s” after the “p” and see if your site works. If not, or if it works partially but has errors, then that’s bad news. Your multifamily website is missing out on all the perks of HTTPS.
How to get your multifamily website encrypted
So you discovered that you’re not encrypted. That’s okay; don’t panic. It’s fixable.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and know your way around your web host, you might be able to get it going yourself. There are plenty of places to buy your certificates from, and many offer features that reinforce the trustworthiness you can convey to your multifamily website’s visitors.
For step-by-step instructions to encrypt your multifamily website, you can visit HTTP Is Easy.
As mentioned above, the essential part of encrypting your multifamily website is the SSL certificate — which is “a small data file that ties the cryptographic key to the site owner’s details.” It can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars.
Another (easier) option is Let’s Encrypt, a nonprofit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and spearheaded by Google, Facebook, and Mozilla. This movement offers you the ability to get the certificate for free.
How secure is the internet?
SSL certificates ensure the confidentiality, authenticity, and integrity of online communication. Since 2015 when Google started to make this push,, HTTPS-encrypted traffic is up across the board.
Consider the following stats about SSL Certificates:
- 1 in 10 URLs is malicious.
- There are about 156,979,428 SSL certificates on the internet currently.
- Nearly 21% of the Alexa Top 100,000 websites still don’t use HTTPS.
- 93.2% of the browsing time on Chrome is spent on HTTPS pages.
- 53.5% of sites have inadequate security.
While the internet is not likely to reach the encrypted web promised land this year, we will likely get close. The expectation for this year is a safer internet. The bottom line? If your multifamily website is not encrypted, you are losing out on a higher ranking in Google, better multifamily SEO, and (ultimately) apartment leads.