Has your website got an SSL Certificate?

Security is a top priority at Google and they have been rolling out changes that impact everyone who owns a website.

Way back in 2014, in a blog post titled HTTPS as a ranking signal, Google made the following statment “we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal”.

What is HTTPS? On the Google Security Blog, Ben Mcllwain said: “The security of the Web is of the utmost importance to Google. One of the most powerful tools in the Web security toolbox is ensuring that connections to websites are encrypted using HTTPS, which prevents Web traffic from being intercepted, altered, or misdirected in transit. We have taken many actions to make the use of HTTPS more widespread, both within Google and on the larger Internet.”

When Google announces that it is starting to use something as a “ranking signal”, website developers & Search Engine Optimisers sit up. When we talk about a “ranking signal”, we mean it is something that Google uses to influence where your website will sit in Google’s search results. In 2014, the weight given to HTTPS as a ranking signal affected fewer than 1% of global queries. However, this news was the start of the trend towards SSL certificates being installed on more and more websites.

Fast forward to 2017 and Google announced changes to Google Chrome, their web browser. In January 2017, Google “began their quest to improve how Chrome communicates the connection security of websites” and In October 2017, Chrome started to show the “Not secure” warning.

This is now active and a “Not Secure” warning will be displayed if a website has password or credit card fields, when users enter data on an HTTP page, and on all HTTP pages visited in Incognito mode.

What does this mean for my website?

If you haven’t already, now is the time to seriously consider ensuring connections to your website are encrypted using HTTPS. To do this, we implement an SSL Certificate. We’d recommend this for three reasons:

  1. Security for your website and customers
  2. The potential for improved Google Rankings in the search listings (or at least, not being punished for not using HTTPS)
  3. Your customers will see “Secure” in Chrome rather than “Not Secure”, which may prevent them trusting your website/business online.

As an additional point of interest, if you are looking to implement an SSL certificate on your website, it’s worth reading the following blog post from Google about Symantec: https://security.googleblog.com/2017/09/chromes-plan-to-distrust-symantec.html

Also, it is worth reading up about the affect on your search engine rankings, up until now this may have been a valid reason not to move to HTTPS but it is now widely accepted that with testing the disruption will be minimal. SSL also needs to be implemented correctly, this is another topic in itself. Google Search Console provides more details: Secure your site with HTTPS

If you need further help, please contact us to see how we can assist on 01525 635684