An SSL (or secure-socket-layer) certificate is added to a website for security purposes.  It allows data submitted by users (forms, online purchases, etc.) to be encrypted and helps prevent hacking of data.   Websites that are protected by SSL certificates are accessed via “https://” rather than “http://” and, depending upon the browser used, will be indicated as secure by a lock icon in the address bar.  The security of a website is also a ranking factor used by Google’s algorithm and it improves a visitor’s trust in the website.

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