Why Healthcare Practice Websites Need SSL (for both Google AND Patients)
In today’s virtual economy, healthcare organizations need to ensure that patient data is protected. In addition, they want to ensure their site has maximum visibility. The encryption protocol Secure Sockets Layer, known as SSL, allows organizations to do just that. SSL is defined as “… a protective measure that encrypts data from [a] medical website to the hosting server to ensure privacy and safekeeping” (Web to Med). SSL works by utilizing a data file that enables only the sending and receiving computers to view the information being sent. It is a protective measure utilized outside of just the healthcare sector, as it provides protection for both the consumer and company. SSL encryption also directly correlates to a website’s search engine optimization (SEO) success.
Healthcare websites utilizing SSL have a distinct advantage over those that do not. Google places a higher emphasis on sites that have SSL encryption and they do so by providing rankings boosts to websites that have SSL. This is further illustrated by the Search Engine Journal, which reported in 2017 that websites with SSL appeared in the top 45% of Google searches compared to just 12% in 2015.
When a consumer searches for healthcare services, these websites have a better chance of appearing in the search results. A green padlock will indicate if a site is utilizing SSL. From the consumer’s perspective, such websites are more likely to seem trustworthy. Consumers providing personal medical information or credit card numbers want to know they are doing so over a secure connection. If a website cannot provide consumers with that peace of mind, they are more likely to visit a provider who can. A website with a good ranking in Google search results translates not only into retaining current patients but also into sourcing new ones. For example, a website visitor is more likely to complete a consultation or new patient form if they know their data is protected by SSL.
Healthcare providers that sell products on their website will especially benefit from utilizing SSL encryption. It is more beneficial for patients to purchase products from a trusted medical provider, rather than a retailer they find on their own. Websites that offer purchases are guided by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, known as PCI-DSS for protecting consumers’ credit card information. This standard requires that online retailers utilize SSL.
Along with generating more website traffic and conversions, SSL also enhances a website’s loading speed. This will enhance the overall user experience and help ensure consumers will visit the website in the future.
The SSL encryption protocol is an invaluable tool for healthcare organizations to create satisfied patients and grow their business. Patients will trust providers who take steps to protect their medical and financial information. A website with SSL encryption is a way to illustrate to patients that a provider takes their security seriously.
Do you need SSL installed on your website? Kaufer DMC offers this service and can work with your existing hosting provider to make it happen easily and seamlessly for you – for as little as $250 - a small investment to guarantee security to your site visitors.