In 2014, Google kick-started the “HTTPS Everywhere” campaign with a view to make the Internet a safe place for everyone. This initiative aimed to emphasise the importance of online security and encourages users to make use of HTTPS.
In 2015, Google made HTTPS a lightweight ranking signal, and in January 2017, Google began marking websites without an SSL certificate as unsecure in Google Chrome. In fact, Google has been blacklisting websites without HTTPS.
Google is leaving no stone unturned to make it very clear that websites that require any kind of text input (including contact forms, login pages or search bars) from users must have an SSL certificate. A non-HTTPS will be marked as insecure in the address bar.
What is SSL?
SSL is short for Secure Socket Layer, which is a universal encryption technology that’s used for transferring data from a visitor’s Internet browser to the website’s hosting server. SSL encryption helps ensure that hackers cannot intercept the data that visitors submit on your website.
So how do you know if a website is secure?
If a website is secure, the URL pane will show HTTPS, signifying it’s a secure site. And if the URL pane simply shows HTTP, it means that the site is unsecure, and your Google Chrome browser will pronounce it’s unsecure by clearly stating so.
HTTPS and your website ranking
SearchMetrics finds that 45% of the top rated websites use HTTPS and Backlinko in their study found that there’s a strong link between HTTPS first page rankings in Google.
So what does all of this mean to your website’s ranking?
The picture is crystal clear. If your website is unsecure, you could lose your current rankings. If you have launched your website recently, it won’t rank up until you ensure the connection to your website is secure.
It wouldn’t just be safe but it would be prudent to make your website secure if you are expecting users to fill out a form – even a contact form on your website. If you are an ecommerce website, then the need for going HTTPS is even more urgent.
So if you haven’t yet invested in an SSL certificate or are launching a new website, be sure to talk to your web design agency in Melbourne about it. They will be able to help you choose the right SSL certificate for your website.