Typically, information sent between a browser and a web server is sent as plain text, which can leave you vulnerable to hackers. SSL certificates utilise a public and a private key, which work together to establish an encrypted connection.
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"Back in 2014, Google tried to persuade webmasters to make the switch to HTTPS and made the secure protocol a stronger ranking signal as motivation. Google flat-out said they would start giving preference to sites with an SSL. Since that time, encrypted sites have earned a boost in rankings over their unsecured counterparts."