When it comes to making a great website you need a variety of things such as unique content, high res images and good on page optimization. With all of that on point you would think that Google would love your website, right? WRONG! In early 2017 Google decided to start hammering websites that did not have the little s after their http. Without this little s you're damaging your own SERP rankings because your website isn't secure enough according to Google.
So why is the SSL so important?
That little s you are adding to your URL means "secure" which isn't so surprising. With the URL being secure it means that your users can be more relaxed when it comes to purchasing anything through your website. The secure socket layer (SSL) protects the credit card information, names, address, etc. from hackers getting at them and using this information for their own shady purposes.
A lot of times when someone, a hacker, gets access to this type of information they will go on spending sprees or actually steal the identity of the person that lost the information. Google is doing everything they can to stop these kind of actions and one of the best ways to do so is to make everyone that wants top rankings to register for an SSL.
You're really going to have to get one.
I know you're probably saying "Well I don't even sell anything on my website. Why the hell do I need one?" and this is because even if you don't sell anything, Google still wants to make sure you have a secure website. If you were running a very successful website back in 2016 and noticed a huge drop in your traffic, maybe 25% to 50%, when 2017 rolled around. It's likely because you didn't have an SSL ready for when Google decided it wanted everyone to have that pretty little s on your URL along with the neat little green lock to the left of it. Basically Google is trying to make everything as secure as possible and to do this it now wants every website to have an SSL regardless if you're collecting sensitive data from your visitors.
Http is now a bad thing for rankings.
When it comes to making a sale online, or even getting traffic, you would think that all you have to is put up a great website with an amazing product. Not anymore! Now you definitely need that https in front of your URL to just be seen. You would think that Google would send you a massive amount of traffic even if you didn't have that little green lock icon next to your URL, but that's not the case anymore.
When it comes to Chrome, Googles browser, you now need to have an SSL to be seen as the prettiest website out there. If your users are using Chrome they will instantly see a nice little red X next to your URL along with an open lock. Now this just says "Trustworthy!" right? Even if you've never thought of scamming someone, you will now look like a shady character of a website and people will be less likely to purchase from you. Since Google implemented the SSL change, people have been losing a lot of sales because of it. I've actually had clients tell me they didn't want to get an SSL because they didn't want to spend recklessnessly on something they don't need. And when I explain to them why they need it they are on board lol
We now will need an SSL in order to get that little s on your http turning it into an https. The good thing is that it's not very expensive and you can get one for around $20 a year. Some hosting companies are now offering free SSLs with all their premium hosting services. Obviously you won't get a free SSL if you're on $1 hosting because they can't afford to pay for yours and still make a profit. So play it safe and get an SSL for your website regardless if you sell something or not.