It’s here – the announcement we’ve all been waiting for.
Google, the search engine giant, is officially marking ALL websites who don’t use “HTTPS” for their website domain as “not secure.”
In 2017, Google announced this update was coming. While the October update initially affected some websites, the latest Chrome update will have a much larger impact on the world wide web.
Beginning July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Google will mark ALL websites who use “HTTP” as “not secure.”
This new update will impose challenges for business owners, but implementing a proactive strategy right away will ensure your website remains SEO friendly on Google.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOUR WEBSITE IS NOT SECURE?
Let’s face it.
Cyber security is not a choice anymore. In this digital age, it’s a must.
Cyber-attacks such as WannaCry, Spectre, and Cryptolocker caused a tidal wave of consequences across the world. According to the Ponemon Institute, cybercrime costs organizations on average $11.7 million.
Without HTTPS, your website is not strong enough to protect the communication and privacy between the website and the user’s browser.
Any information (such as credit card information, email, etc.) used on an HTTP connection is displayed in “plain text,” which could be accessed by any hacker who’s able to break into the connection between your browser and the website.
And for Google, this is a huge problem.
As the most popular search engine worldwide, Google cares about providing a secure, optimized experience for its users.
Think about your own experience on Google. If you clicked on a link and got an error message – would you trust the website?
It’s the same for your customers.
They want a secure website experience. Google does too, which is why HTTPS sites are ranking higher on search engine result pages.
According to Google:
- Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is protected.
- Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is protected.
- 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default.
Therefore, if your website is still “not secure”, it can have a negative impact on your leads, conversions, sales, and more.
Ready to switch to HTTPS?
HOW TO MAKE YOUR WEBSITE SECURE ON GOOGLE
This may get technical, but hang in there!
These basic principles are critical for understanding exactly how HTTPS works.
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), protects information between the browser and user through Transport Layer Security (TLS) by giving layers of security.
3 Security Functions of HTTPS
- Encryption– While the user is browsing a website, nobody can maliciously track their activities or steal their information.
- Integrity – Data can’t be corrupted during transfer without being detected.
- Authentication– Demonstrates website users are communicating with the right site.
HOW DO YOU SET UP HTTPS?
For HTTPS to work, it needs a certificate, known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), installed on the web server.
An SSL uses a Public Key Infrastructure system – two “keys” or methods (a public and private key) to encrypt the information.
Anything encrypted with the public key is decrypted by the private key, which is protected and hidden on the website’s server.
When you request an HTTPS connection to a webpage, the website will initially send its SSL certificate to your browser.
This establishes a uniquely secure connection between the user and your website.
In order for HTTPS to work, your SSL must be correctly installed and activated.
If you’re not familiar with the backend of your website and don’t have your own server, connect with your web development and hosting company to help you navigate the HTTP to HTTPS switch.
HTTPS SEO NEXT STEPS
Okay, the technical part is almost over.
To ensure the website is fully working and remains SEO-friendly on Google, after your website switches to HTTPS, make sure this process is part of the next steps:
- Verify all images and assets are using HTTPS.
- Check and update all internal and external links to the HTTPS version including social icons.
- Verify both HTTP and HTTPS website in Google Search Console and set your preferred domain to HTTPS.
- Perform 301 redirects to point HTTP URLs to new HTTPS URLs.
- Update your XML sitemaps and resubmit to Google Search Console.
- Monitor your website for 404 Errors or indexing errors.
HTTPS WRAP UP
The fact is, your website is nothing without visitors.
Security, speed, performance, and mobile-responsiveness impact how your customers find and engage with your website through Google.
Maintaining best practices, like implementing HTTPS, helps your business attract new customers, provides trust, and enhances your website’s visibility on Google.
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