Google are big advocates of website security, in particular HTTPS & SSL. HTTP is the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website you are connected to. Basically, the ‘S’ in ‘HTTPS’ stands for “secure” and means all communications between you and the website are encrypted and therefore safe from eavesdropping, man-in-the-middle attacks and data modification.
We’ll go into a little bit of detail on SSL below but the long story short is that if your website isn’t currently secure then you need to make this transition. Why? Because, in addition to being best practice and something that will increasingly become favored by visitors it’s also going to have a dramatic impact on performance.
In particular, through Google’s own tech including…
- The Chrome browser: If you’re a Chrome user you may have already noticed this as from January 2017, HTTP websites (a.k.a unsecured) are being flagged to the user directly in the browser. Currently, this is fairly subtle but this red flag is going to ramp up in visual intensity dramatically over the coming months to the point that people WILL become afraid to browse an HTTP website.
- Google Search: You guessed it, HTTP sites will also start to be penalised in organic search results meaning that a lot of that hard work you’ve been doing optimising your search rankings could be undone.
This is where the second acronym “SSL” comes in. This stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it’s essentially a technology that encrypts data so it can be safely and securely transferred back and forth from the user to the web server. Initially this kind of tech was reserved for eCommerce shopping sites but essentially it’s fast becoming the industry standard for all sites regardless of industry or purpose.
Applying a SSL certificate to your website is actually fairly simple and involves purchasing the certificate and integrating it to the site, plus testing to ensure all the links successfully change from HTTP to HTTPS (nobody likes a broken link). It’s also a great idea to inform Google this has taken place and potentially redirect the old URL’s to the new with 301 redirects.
It may all sound a little complex but it’s not really – chat to us today about putting an SSL certificate on your site and becoming HTTPS proud.