Jan 17, 2017 Update:
Effective Jan 31, 2017 Google Chrome will start showing websites without SSL Certificates as "insecure".
Google’s intention is to “call out” HTTP for what it is: “UNSAFE.”
~ Google's Chris Palmer
Read the full article Google Will Soon Shame All Websites That Are Unencrypted
Aug 6, 2014 – From: Google Webmaster Central
"We're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it's only a very lightweight signal affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we'd like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web."
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificates create an encrypted connection between your web server and your visitors' web browser, allowing for information to be transmitted without the problems of eavesdropping, data tampering, or message forgery.
Because internet forgery has become such a major problem, Google is encouraging ALL websites to have an SSL Certificate, and they are giving a boost in Search Engine rankings to websites that do have it.
There are three kinds of SSL Certificates.
1. DV (Domain Validation) SSL Certificate
The DV Certificate is one in which the CA (Certificate Authority) checks the right of the applicant to use a specific domain name. No company identity information is vetted, and no information is displayed. It costs $100/yr.
2. OV (Organization Validation) SSL Certificate
The OV Certificate is one in which the CA checks the right of the applicant to use a specific domain name, PLUS it conducts some vetting of the organization. Additional vetted company information is displayed to customers when clicking on the lock in the address bar, giving enhanced visibility of who is behind the site, and associated enhanced trust. For an example of the information shown, click on the green lock at the top of this page and see Details of the Certificate. (Chrome browser gives the most information.) This SSL Certificate is the one I use, and the one I recommend for most websites. It costs $150/yr.
3. EV (Extended Validation) SSL Certificate
The EV Certificate offers the highest level of security and is used by Banks, Government, and any other type of business that want to convey the highest trust level. The Certificate Authority checks the right of the applicant to use a specific domain name, PLUS it conducts a THOROUGH vetting of the organization. This SSL Certificate is $300/yr.
With all of these SSL Certificates your website goes from http:// to https:// (the "s" indicates secure) and shows a closed padlock in the address bar.
With the EV Certificate the company name appears in the green bar in addition to showing the locked padlock.
Note: All sites with SSL Certificate require a Dedicated IP (Internet Protocol) Address. Dedicated IP's cost $15/mo.