Not to get all techy on you, but Google has ramped up its efforts to encourage owners of websites that involve any kind of user input to add site-wide Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Starting this October, non-secure sites will have warnings attached to them. This rollout is in addition to the SSL requirement for any site containing passwords or credit card forms that was enacted last fall.
If your site actively engages customers and prospects, chances are this change will impact you. Now is the time to forward this information to your IT provider or marketing department. If you have neither, keep reading.
Where Google Goes, Others Follow
Although this announcement specifically affects Google’s Chrome browser, as Google goes so do all others. We expect SSL certificates to be required by all other browsers as well, except for those websites with the simplest content and no user engagement. The move to SSL has already begun, and it’s time to get on board.
In short, if your website does not begin with https:, meaning it is secure using SSL, Google will identify the site as not secure. As security issues rise, non-secure sites will become increasingly unacceptable to both search browsers and users.
Google announced that adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your website will slightly boost the site’s rankings. As for SEO, a non-secure site is understandably untrustworthy and less relevant than a secure site with similar content, not just to the engine, but to users as well. Just recently, Moz released a study noting that half of all page one results were using SSL.
Making the switch to full SSL has become a requirement for any eCommerce store to be successful. With SSL/HTTPS, users will see in the address bar that your site is secure, giving them confidence and encouraging them to complete a purchase, accept a download or fill out a form.
Add the S to Your URL
Migrating an entire site from HTTP to HTTPS can be very simple or very tricky, depending on the complexity of the website. There are many steps and variables to account for before, during, and after the switch, and each is essential. You may experience fluctuations in traffic and rankings during the change, as with any major website update. It’s worth it.
With all due respect to our friends in the technology sciences who may disagree simply due to the hassle of it all, we see this change as a necessity. Downgraded search rankings and a negative user experience due to non-secure status are too costly a price to pay for not making this update.
For our clients whose websites are maintained by EAG, no worries. We will be sharing more details in the coming months as we finalize our plans for a smooth, seamless transition to secure websites for all.