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Can SSL, Trust Seals and Other Security Indicators Increase Conversions?

Imagine you’re in the waiting room at the “Smiles 4 Dayz” dental office. There’s some standard elevator music playing, and everything seems pretty average.

Except that, as you’re filling out the new patient form, you notice there aren’t any dental school diplomas lining the walls of the office (not one…). Even more curious, the form lists the dentist as simply “Mrs. Liza Hoover,” not “Dr. Hoover, PhD, M.Sc.” Finally, when your name is called, the receptionist asks loudly for your social security number while others look on.

Visitor anxiety

Now, this is an exaggerated example, but these subtle (and not-so-subtle) red flags would likely have you questioning this dentist’s credibility.

Point being? You could be evoking the same type of visitor anxiety on your landing pages unwittingly, and losing out on conversions from visitors who can’t decide whether or not to trust you.

These days, 77% of website visitors worry that their personal data could be intercepted or misused online, so that lead gen form on your landing page could be causing more anxiety (and bounces!) than you realize.

Luckily, there are simple measures you can take to reassure visitors that your pages are secure — thereby increasing the likelihood of conversion.

SSL to the rescue!

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is an industry standard security measure that creates an encrypted link between your landing pages and your visitor’s browser. It encrypts data in transmission and ensures that contact info sent through your landing page forms is secure.

Visitors to your landing pages can see whether you’re serving up secure page based on the ‘HTTPS’ and the small green padlock icon that’ll appear in the address bar:


These two, small visual cues reassure visitors their contact info is safe when submitted through your landing page, and it’s been found that close to half of website visitors check for security indicators like these before they’ll hand over personal information in a form.

Does SSL impact the way visitors perceive your page?

Depending on the importance of perceived security in your industry, you could be leaving conversions on the table if you don’t serve up your pages securely. As GlobalSign, a web-trust certificate provider discovered, 84% of website visitors surveyed said they would abandon a purchase if they knew the data was going to be sent over an insecure connection.

Moreover, because Google prioritizes making the web a safer place for everyone, in 2014 they announced they were using HTTPS as a ranking signal in their search ranking algorithm. Although HTTPS was more of a lightweight signal than high-quality content, Google did say that they might strengthen the signal over time, and ultimately encouraged everyone to swap from HTTP to HTTPS.

As far as your landing pages are concerned, it can’t hurt to take security more seriously, especially in industries like healthcare, finance, security-related tech, and ecommerce (where faulty security can have much higher consequences than in other industries).

After all, your landing page for a finance product might not convert so well if visitors notice you didn’t care to serve it up securely to protect their personal information in transit. A quick swap over to HTTPS is a simple thing you can do today to improve your landing page visitor’s trust.

PRO TIP: SSL is enabled on Unbounce pages on Pro Accounts. Simply update all your current links directing to your landing page to begin with HTTPS, and you’re set!

What about trust seals?

Beyond changing your links to HTTPS, third-party security vendors often offer a security seal, or SSL badge, for you to feature on your ecommerce sites or landing pages with a bit of Javascript. These seals are often cited to correlate with higher conversion rates, but – depending on your use case – your mileage may vary.

Here’s a trust seal from GlobalSign as an example:


The effectiveness of these trust seals seems dependent on whether they’re recognized (some are more recognizable than others), but also on their prominence and usefulness to your audience at a particular time in the buying cycle.

A seal accompanying a final purchase confirmation page may fare well, but could hypothetically decrease trust and conversions if you include it too prominently across a multi-step ecommerce experience. Displaying the trust seal repeatedly may make visitors curious as to why you need to repeat that you’re secure (rather than simply state it once during initial checkout).

Blue Fountain Media cited a 42% increase in conversions with their A/B test of a VeriSign seal (see their A/B test variations below), and US Cutter have reported conversion lifts of 11% with the use of a Norton trust seal.


As with all things, however, running your own A/B test is the only way to determine whether security seals are a win for your landing pages.

Placement matters

As everyone will experience different results with a trust seal, it’s difficult to be prescriptive about their use. Chris Goward of WiderFunnel found, for example, that with one of their clients, a McAfee badge decreased conversions by 1.6%. However, as savvy commenters have noted, this could be due to the seal’s placement in the test.

You could choose to include a trust seal on a checkout or shopping cart confirmation page in the case of an ecommerce page, or you could simply swap all of your landing pages to HTTPS, skip the trust seal entirely, and see if you experience a difference in conversions. A simple swap to HTTPS might be enough for your audience to know you’re secure.

Note that if you do swap over to SSL, you’ll want to ensure all elements on your landing pages are secure (including videos, privacy policies, etc.) as the trust seal can’t be verified by a third-party security vendor if there are insecure items on the page.

Put your prospects at ease

When it comes down to it, security is becoming an increasingly important issue for people and marketers have to work to build their trust.

While design, copy and testimonials play a large part in conveying your company’s credibility, there are other factors to consider. Whether you’re creating a click-through ecommerce page, or simply collecting contact information through a lead gen form, you need to do everything you can to reinforce your trustworthiness and convey to customer that you care about their privacy and security.

SSL is just one way you can reassure your potential customers their info is safe with you.

About Jennifer Pepper
Jennifer Pepper is the Customer Success Content Strategist at Unbounce. One day she wants to direct the ads you skip on YouTube. Follow her on Twitter @PeppersWrite.
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  1. Alhan Keser

    Thanks for mentioning my lead-gen form A/B test from my time at Blue Fountain Media (I’m now next door to you guys, at WiderFunnel)

    I should add an important update to that test: I ran a follow-up, which I didn’t end up writing about. (Hence, part of the problem with how CRO “best practices” come to be in the first place)

    My follow-up was:
    CONTROL – the winning version w/ Verisign badge as seen above
    VarA – nothing in that area (Verisign badge hidden).

    RESULT: I ran that experiment for 6 weeks and saw NO difference between the two variations. So, what we might infer is that it wasn’t so much the addition of the security badge that was adding trust, but rather the “Your Privacy” copy that was creating anxiety.

    We also ran a test to determine whether or not the new version of the Verisign badge, with Norton branding would do better (the badge got a redesign in 2012). There, we saw the Verisign badge slightly outperform (<5% difference) the new, Norton branded badge.

    Let me know and I can elaborate on any of those.

    • Jennifer

      Thanks for the update, Alhan. It’s great to know how the follow-up went.
      It’s interesting to see that the inclusion of copy intended to set people’s minds at ease can have the opposite effect in some cases. It’s kinda like when you have text reading: “Subscribe…we promise not to spam you or sell your info to third parties!”, which can inadvertently put the *idea* of spam on the table.

      The moral of the story: always be testing!

  2. Ryan Meghdies

    Have you seen any performance data comparing SSL (HTTPS) vs EV SSL (HTTPS plus a green browser bar)?

    I believe it will vary depending on the audience of each website/company, however I would love to see some data to clarify impact.

    • Jennifer

      Hi Ryan,

      Great question about the data (and one I still have, actually!). In researching SSL, I ran into very little data-driven comparison of the two types of certification levels. As you say, the impact of SSL definitely seems to alter per industry/business type. However, because extended validation has a more systematic or rigorous process involved, this may contribute to your credibility if you’re in a particularly stringent industry, like finance (where customers may be more diligent about seeing a highlighted green address bar).
      Overall, it’s definitely difficult to be prescriptive about SSL, or the impact your business is likely to see, but it’d be nice to see more data for sure.

      • Ryan Meghdies

        Hi Jennifer,

        Sorry for the late reply, I forgot to select the “Notify me of follow-up” check box.

        I’m glad my curiosity for the data is shared :)

        Here is my hypothesis, let me know what you think. I’m guessing most individuals do not know what “https” and the “green bar” represent. As a result I tend to believe that a green bar could look spammy if it doesn’t visually look appropriate for the website. On the other hand, while the true purpose of https is not understood I think there is a positive connotation to it, and does not impact the visual experience of a website.

        • Jen Pepper

          That’s an interesting idea in terms of whether people understand the green bar or HTTPS (and maybe the majority don’t depending on the industry the site’s for?). That said, I know when I navigate to a banking site to login, I notice the small green lock icon and feel it holds some weight. I think in general we tend to associate green = safe, red = spammy on the Internet (as it’s pretty consistent for the most part), so I’ve never really thought about whether EV SSL’s green bar cheapens or negatively impacts the look of a site. Thanks for sharing, Ryan.

  3. Jonas Koepke

    You know you found a good article when the author considers the influence of confounding variables. As you mentioned – sometimes it’s not the seal itself but the positioning that won’t perform.

    You really have to test where these seals should be. I read many articles that said you should just put your seals in every step of your check out process. This might work but it’s possible that these seals are only needed in specific parts of the customer journey.

    Cheers :)

  4. Bakırköy Evden Eve Nakliyat

    Her şeyden önce kişi ne istediğini bilmeli, ne yazdığını bilmeli yada ne vermek istediğini bilmelidir.
    Bu sayfada bu özelliklerin tümü var ve bu yüzden size minnettarım.

  5. SAM

    Is SSL good from SEO point of view.

  6. Chris

    Something that i have noticed in my years building websites: people don’t know what HTTPS even is.

    Most users know enough to look for the padlock or some other visual que that their data is safe, but the majority in my experience still rely on the ultra scientific “gut check” to determine if they will purchase on a site before doing research.

    Having HTTPS should be the default when dealing with any personal information, but having the entire site behind SSL could actually hurt you in the end because not every element on the web can be served to a secure server.

    Things to think about when you are designing your page, specifically multiple level pages that may include ad copy, blogs, videos, and ecommerce. You have to make sure that the technology fits the needs of the end user and you don’t simply put everything behind SSL “just because you should”

    • Jen Pepper

      Agreed, Chris. Thanks for your insight!
      SSL will vary case by case/industry by industry, and – as you said – if you’re collecting any information from leads, you ought to consider implementing it on your landing pages. All the while remembering that all the elements on your page will have to be secure to carry out the swap to HTTPS, which could restrict certain items (like insecure video assets, for example).

  7. Fabiola Martinez

    As the time goes by, more people is getting aware of HTTPS and stop trusting in sites that doesn’t use a SSL. In the past, visitors were afraid of performing any online transaction, now they’re getting more cautious and skilled in identifying the authentic and safe sites from the rest.

  8. Tushar Hossain

    Thank you so much for your valuable information.I will add ssl to my site soon :)