What Does Google’s HTTPS Shift Mean for Your Website?

Is your website secure?

Starting in October of this year (2017), Google Chrome will start labelling sites that are not using HTTPS as “not secure”. This means that when someone types your website into the search bar of their Chrome browser, a dialogue will pop up warning them that the site is not secure. If your web site has any sort of form for visitors to fill out, from email requests to order forms, this change affects you.

What is HTTPS?

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), also referred to HTTP over TLS or HTTP over SSL, is the part of the web address that tells your browser what type of connection to use to connect to your site. For the most part, sites that run on the HTTPS connection will redirect to the secure connection if only “HTTP” is entered.

HTTPS was created in 1994 by Netscape Communications. Its original intended purpose was to be used in the Netscape Navigator web browser. Today, HTTPS is used to transmit data securely over an encrypted connection. The idea behind it is to make the internet more secure.

Web sites can obtain what’s called an “SSL certificate” in order to gain access to the HTTPS connection.

SSL Certificates

On a site with an SSL certificate, any data that is put in by a user is more secure. Whether it’s just putting in an email, or completing shipping and payment information on an e-commerce site. Anywhere that has a fillable form will need to have an SSL certificate. SSL certificates are signed by a Certificate Authority, and each browser has a list of Certificate Authorities which it trusts implicitly. The websites with an SSL certificate signed by those trusted Certificate Authorities will show up with a green padlock next to the site address, to indicate the trusted security.

SEO Related Implications

Without an SSL, not only could consumers’ trust in your site lower, but your SEO could suffer as well. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of tailoring your web site content so that it will rank higher on search engines. This, in turn, creates more traffic on your website and could potentially drum up more business. With this push for HTTPS migration, Google is also prioritizing sites that run on an HTTPS connection in web searches. This means that if your site is still HTTP, the fifteen other sites that match a user’s search criteria will show up before your site and potentially bump your site to the second page. Studies show that the vast majority of Google users don’t go past the first page of search results. Don’t let your SEO suffer! Switch to HTTPS today!

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