Have you converted your website to HTTPS? Here’s why it’s such an important Google ranking factor.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s the secure protocol over which data is exchanged between a browser and a website. Every website uses either HTTP or HTTPS, but these days, HTTPS is much-preferred—and here’s why: not only does it keep people safe, but it helps your site rank in Google searches—something that’s important for every website owner, assuming that you want people to actually visit your website!
Why HTTPS is an Important Ranking Factor
HTTPS makes peoples’ browsing experience safer.
You need HTTPS if you want to contribute to a safe, secure browsing experience for Internet users. On HTTPS-enabled sites (also known as SSL sites) the information exchanged between the browser and the website is authenticated and encrypted by default. On regular HTTP sites, that information is not authenticated encrypted, so it’s less secure for the user.
There are three parts to Internet security:
• Authentication (Making sure the website is truly the one they’re supposed to be on)
• Data integrity (Making sure information has not been tampered with by outside sources)
• Encryption (Making sure no unauthorized entities can eavesdrop, spy, or see the information people are giving out)
If these 3 parts are not in place, people’s security is compromised. That includes the people who are visiting your website, but it also includes you as the site owner. You want to protect your visitors, your site, and your services—you do not want to give malicious attackers access to anyone’s information, so you need to have a secure site.
This doesn’t just apply if people are entering sensitive information such as passwords or credit card information. It also applies if they’re simply browsing the site, even if they aren’t entering anything sensitive at all. That’s because a passive attacker can actually learn quite a lot about a person by making an aggregate of all of the person’s browsing data. Over time, they can collect enough to significantly impact a person’s privacy.
Active attackers can take advantage of an unsecure site by tampering with data or even impersonating your website, making visitors think that they’re browsing a safe site when it’s really a clever copy of the site that an attacker is using to steal their password or other data.
An HTTPS site makes it difficult or impossible for these passive or active attackers to steal information from you and your visitors.
Google has been giving HTTPS websites a higher ranking since 2014.
Since Google wants Internet users to be safe, and since it knows HTTPS sites are far more secure than HTTP sites, it has been giving HTTPS websites a higher ranking for about 4 years now. In August of 2014, Google explained in a blog post that it had been investing in strong HTTPS encryption for its own sites and announced that it would be promoting “HTTPS everywhere” as a Internet-wide security measure. Google explained that it had been testing sites to see if they used secure connections. If they were using HTTPS and encryption, then they would be ranked higher by Google’s algorithms. They ended the blog by saying, “We hope to see more websites using HTTPS in the future. Let’s all make the web more secure!” Well, the future is now! In the last 4 years, many websites have switched over, but some still remain—and Google is just as committed to “HTTPS everywhere” as they were back in 2014. Don’t let your site lag behind!
Non-SSL pages are marked “Not Secure” in Chrome.
Your visitors are now reminded that your site isn’t secured by HTTPS. If they use Chrome, their URL bar says “Not Secure” in front of the URL if the site is not protected by HTTPS. This has been true for awhile on any site that asks for a password or credit card information. But beginning in July 2018, ALL websites—regardless of whether they ask visitors to enter passwords or credit card info—will have that little reminder at the top.
As a website owner, you don’t want visitors to see “Not Secure” when they visit your website. It lowers your credibility and it can hurt your brand as a whole.
If every site had SSL with end-to-end encryption, the entire Internet would be a safer place. Do your part to make the Internet safer while also raising your Google ranking, increasing your brand’s credibility, and getting more traffic to your website. And don’t forget, you’ll be improving your own safety and security as a website owner in the process. Convert your website to HTTPS now!
About U Visibility
U Visibility is a professional SEO company in Connecticut. We help small business owners get more online leads, phone calls, and front page search engine rankings. Our local search engine optimization services focus on growing revenue. If you are a business owner and need more customers, let us handle it.