Home Management Adding SSL to Your Attorney Website: 5 Things You Need To Know
Adding SSL to Your Attorney Website: 5 Things You Need To Know

Adding SSL to Your Attorney Website: 5 Things You Need To Know


Google announced in 2014[1] that it would be using SSL as a ranking factor in search. In other words that means if you have a security certificate applied to your domain, Google uses that signal to place you above other sites that may not have that feature (all else being equal of course).

If you do not have SSL applied to your site it’s probably a good idea to start thinking about it[2]. Otherwise your competition has a distinct advantage.

What is SSL?

The acronym literally means Secure Socket Layer but doesn’t really tell you much. Basically SSL is in internet protocol providing a secure connection between a web browser and a server.

In essence, a server can be thought of as a computer designed to process requests and deliver data to other computers via the internet or by using a local network. A well-known type of server is a web server where web pages can be accessed over the internet through a client like a web browser. For more information about servers, including whether a Seedbox server could be what you need to boost the privacy and security of your website, head to the SeedboxCo website.

A security certificate (also called SSL) helps one computer understand that the other computer trying to communicate with it is legitimate or safe. Security certificates help keep data safe during transmission over the internet. You can learn even more about the ssl certificate at places similar to exai.com if you’re interested.

Picking Your SSL Provider: Who Attorneys Can Trust

Don’t just buy a certificate from any old hosting or SSL provider. At best you or your web development team will have a hard time installing it. At worst you could be compromising your site’s security without even knowing it.

Attorneys for the most part do not need highly sophisticated certificates so going with a mainstream hosting provider is a good bet. Below is a list of hosts that provide solid SSL services:

  • Network Solutions
  • GoDaddy
  • Name Cheap
  • Rapid SSL

It’s not as if you have to go with one of these providers. If you are happy with the customer service and performance of your current web host similar to the Dedicated Servers by M247 and they offer SSL certs, by all means go with them.

Choosing Your Certificate Trust Level

SSL certificates are not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. There are various price points, levels of sophistication and configurations depending on how many domains you are using the certificate on.

Global Sign (a certificate provider) has a pretty good infographic and post here[3] explaining how to choose your certificate trust level. Different providers may have different names for their product offerings but in general here’s what you’ll find:

Single Domain: This is a standard certificate used on one domain (i.e. http://www.example.com or domain.example.com)

Wildcard Certificate: Typically used for multiple types of domains (i.e. sub-domain and primary domain like www.example.com and domain.example.com)

Multiple domains: Used for many different domains (i.e. www.example.com and www.domain.com)

The cost of each of these usually goes up the more variation there is in what you need. Attorneys should look for certs that have 99% browser recognition, free re-issues, some type of guarantee or warranty,

For the most part, law firm websites that are not transferring sensitive information over the internet (i.e. social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc) do not need a sophisticated and expensive SSL option.

Adding SSL to Your Site

When you add SSL to your site, you are changing the URLs of links that are pointing at your site. Whenever this happens you have the potential to lose rankings in search.

  • Make sure whoever is installing your certificate properly redirects http to https
  • If you are using a CMS like WordPress, remember to change your default URL in settings to https
  • If you have your domain configured in Google Analytics and Search Console, make sure Google knows that your new URL is HTTPS

If you’ve never installed an SSL cert before (or maybe you’re just not that technically inclined), we strongly recommend having a development company do it for you. Mistakes in adding SSL to a site can cause a poor user experience or could even stop your site from loading.

Keeping SSL Up To Date

Once you have a security certificate installed on your site, you have to get it re-issued each year. If you do not, your certificate will expire and users will get a security warning when visiting your site. They will still be able to proceed past security warnings but many browsers do a good job of scaring people into thinking they are in danger if they visit your site.


[1] www.globalsign.com/en/blog/guide-to-choosing-an-ssl-certificate/

[2] www.webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html

[3] www.rankings.io/adding-an-ssl-certificate-to-your-attorney-website/

Chris Dreyer on EmailChris Dreyer on GoogleChris Dreyer on LinkedinChris Dreyer on Twitter
Chris Dreyer
Chris Dreyer
Chris Dreyer is the CEO and Founder of Rankings.io, an SEO agency for lawyers. Chris has been featured in numerous legal and search marketing publications such as Legal Ink Magazine, Law Marketing, Attorney At Work, Moz, and more. With over 12 years of experience in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Chris has helped hundreds of law firms get first page positions in search engines using innovative campaigns that are difficult for competitors to recreate. He is dedicated to helping lawyers get more leads and win more clients.
Matthew Laurin on EmailMatthew Laurin on FacebookMatthew Laurin on LinkedinMatthew Laurin on Twitter
Matthew Laurin
Matthew Laurin
Matthew Laurin is the Director of Marketing for Rankings.io, an SEO agency specializing in the legal vertical. Matthew has spent his career mastering the various branches of digital marketing including paid search and social, search engine optimization, inbound and email marketing, data analysis and analytics. He holds degrees from Eastern Michigan University and WCC in Business, Psychology, and Criminal Justice. He is an accomplished writer, web-developer, and has lead teams of professionals in the digital realm while overseeing multi-million dollar marketing and operational budgets.


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