Shocking Discovery – Many Vehicle Websites Are Putting Shoppers’ Information At Risk
May 30, 2019
Wandering around the World Wide Web, we stumbled across many dealership websites and found that still today, many of them are not secure and lacking an SSL certificate.
So, what is an SSL certificate and why you should care? Well, before we answer that, let’s go back to 2014 when Google publicly declared their commitment to make the internet safer more broadly by ensuring that all websites accessed from their web browser Chrome, are secure by having a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate.
There are hundreds of articles online that explain the technicality of an SSL certificate, but to keep things simple and as briefly described on this SSL Certificate Explained video, an SSL certificate authenticates a business’ online identity and creates a unique scrambled connection to provide online shoppers with a safe and secure environment. In other words, an SSL certificate protects all the data that your customers share with you when interacting with your website, for example, your customer’s phone number and email address when booking a vehicle service, or their credit card information, when placing a deposit online on your website.
To find out if your website is secure or has an SSL certificate, go your internet browser and enter your dealership website’s URL to see if it shows HTTPS as per the image below. If it does, then your site is secure for your customers as it has an SSL certificate.
The importance of having an SSL Certificate
Further to your duty of care to protect the personal information that your customers share with you online, you should pay attention to the security of your website as it can have a massive impact on its search engine rankings and consequently to the numbers of leads generated via your website.
Impact on search engine rankings
Google expressed last year on their Security Blog, their advocacy towards HTTPS sites (i.e. with an SSL certificate) in their mission to make the internet safer more broadly. This means that if your competitors’ website is secure and yours is not, Google will favour theirs over yours when a vehicle shopper searches for a specific make and model on their browser.
In Google’s eyes, and all other search browsers like Edge and Safari, dealership websites, and websites in general, with an SSL certificate, are considered of higher quality because they are going the extra mile to protect their customer’s information.
Now, if you are thinking about investing in SEO to boost your website rankings, without relying on paid advertising, having an SSL certificate is key to ensure the optimal performance of your website.
Impact on the leads generated via your own website
The impact goes beyond how your customers feel about your website. It also affects the number of leads you receive on your most important showroom.
With 88% of car buyers using the internet to shop for a vehicle, they will be less likely to enquire and share their personal information with your business if they see a “not secure” message by your dealership’s URL, yet alone, place an online deposit to secure their next vehicle, if you are offering this functionality on your website.
SSL Certificates and Dealer Solutions websites
The good news is that at Dealer Solutions all our Franchise, Independent and Group dealership websites are issued with an SSL certificate as soon as we set them live, so you can have peace of mind that we take care of the nitty-gritty allowing you to focus on selling cars!