Is your website using HTTPS yet? If not, now is a good time to join the club, one that is growing each month as HTTPS becomes the norm. Web development companies have been advising clients to make the switch for a number of reasons which we wanted to review today.
What exactly is HTTPS?
HTTP stands for hyper text transfer protocol which is the foundation of data communication on the web. An upgrade was made to HTTP known as HTTPS which is the secure version which means data sent between your browser and the target website using HTTPS are secure.
In January of this year Google made a change to its Chrome web browser where it would mark any web pages that collect passwords or credit cards as “Not secure”. By now most people who use Chrome have come across that message a few times when visiting sites.
The idea behind the change was that Google wanted to make sure their customers (Chrome users) are aware of the security, or lack thereof, on a site they visit based on a Google search result. This was intended to be the first step of a multi-layered plan by Google to help label HTTP sites in a clearer manner.
Why is this important?
There are a few reasons, most important being that Chrome is the most popular web browser in use followed by Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. With the heightened concerns over internet security, having your site listed as “Not secure” could affect potential transactions.
Google’s intent was to let customers know if a site might not be secure before they use the site for any type of password or credit card information. If the site was unsecure then there would be a worry that a hacker or hackers could intercept information on the unsecure connection.
For some users it can be very discerning to see a “Not secure” note from Google when trying to get to a site which could make them leery of continue to that site, which might be problematic if that is your business.
A secondary reason to consider the change is the assumption that it will eventually affect how your site ranks in searches. Two different studies have shown that currently 50% of Page One Google Results are populated by secure HTTPS sites. That number is up from about 30% a year ago. While at this time Google has stated they currently do not have plans to change the search algorithm to reward secure sites, they did say it was an idea they considered at the beginning of the year.
Of course with Google it is hard to say if they would even announce if they did make a change to their algorithm but as of right now it appears they will wait to make an adjustment in that regard.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that if you do need to switch to using secure SSL certificates, the change should only be viewed as a positive one. While it will take time and possibly money to make a change, if you don’t have in-house web support, you are increasing your site’s security if your website is using HTTPS. This is something that benefits your business and brand by increasing the level of trust and security people feel on your website. Plus, using HTTPS can take advantage of a different protocol which can increase your site’s speed which is always a good thing for both rankings and customer satisfaction.