Still wondering – “What is HTTPS?” In September 2017, we talked about HTTPS, what it is and why it was crucial for your website. The following month, with the release of Chrome 62, Google began placing a “Not Secure” warning on any website not secured by an SSL/TLS Certificate. Due to this update, you’ve probably noticed more and more lock symbols showing up next to the URLs of secured websites. If you didn’t obtain the certificate, this could potentially have a significant impact on your web traffic and search ranking.
Over the past several years, Google has been working toward a more secure web by being the leading advocate for HTTPS encryption. More recently, they have begun to gradually mark many unencrypted sites as “not secure” to help users understand that HTTP sites are not secure. This has gone a long way to encourage HTTPS usage. According to Google’s transparency report:
- 64 percent of Chrome traffic on Android is now protected, up from 42 percent a year ago.
- Over 75 percent of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected, up from 60 percent on Mac and 67 percent on Chrome OS a year ago.
- 71 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default, up from 37 a year ago.
“Based on the awesome rate that sites have been migrating to HTTPS and the strong trajectory through this year,” Google’s Emily Schechter said, “we think that in July the balance will be tipped enough so that we can mark all HTTP sites.”Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.
It’s vital to the success of your website and your business to not have your website branded with this moniker and obtain an SSL/TLS Certificate. Read on to understand why you don’t want to miss this critical July 2018 deadline.
Google’s Security Update: What is HTTPS?
In January 2017, Chrome 56 was released and Google began to identify some pages in HTTP as not secure. This currently only impacts pages that transmit sensitive information such as login and payment-card data on the web. Beginning in October, any HTTP pages with a search box or where users can input data will be labeled as “Not Secure” by Chrome.
“Any type of data that users type into websites should not be accessible to others on the network, so starting in version 62 Chrome will show the ‘Not secure’ warning when users type data into HTTP sites,” said Emily Schechter, a Chrome Security Team product manager.
The switch to HTTPS from HTTP is not just another incentive from Google to increase your search rankings. It is simply a security measure to protect website users. However, this does not mean your rankings won’t be affected if you choose not to convert to HTTPS.
First Page Results
Since Google started pushing for more HTTPS websites in 2014, the amount of sites switching over has grown consistently. This can be seen from recent Google search results. According to a report by MOZ back in April 2017, approximately 50% of page-1 Google results were HTTPS websites. That number grew from 30% nine months prior and was expected to reach about 65% by the end of 2017.
While this trend was based on an educated guess, it was strongly recommended back then and even more so now for website owners to acquire their SSL/TLS Certificate as soon as possible. While Google is not necessarily boosting the ranking benefits for sites using HTTPS, that does not mean your rankings are safe where they are.
Don’t Fall Behind
With many websites converting to HTTPS, being secured by an SSL/TLS Certificate will have a strong influence on which sites your target audience will visit and trust. What does this mean for website owners? Acquiring and setting up HTTPS on their web servers is no longer optional, but mandatory if you don’t want your website to be labeled “Not Secure”. The goal is to drive visitors to your site. Having it labeled “Not Secure” will have the opposite effect, causing them to quickly leave your site and lose trust in your organization.
When making significant changes like this, Google typically rewards sites that are quick to respond with favorable SEO rankings. Hesitating or neglecting to update your site to the more secure HTTPS format will have a negative effect on your SEO in Google Chrome, as first page results are yielding towards safe and encrypted websites. Chrome’s search robots will favor HTTPS sites over non-secure HTTP sites. This will cause non-secure sites to drop in rankings any time an organic search is done. If you’re quick to act, you will see your rankings remain consistent or increase. If not, they will drop when your site is searched in Chrome.
HTTPS is a “Must Have” for Your Website
Are you still asking yourself “what is HTTPS?” Not sure how to go about obtaining SSL/TLS certificates or setting up HTTPS? Not to worry. Creative Click Media can handle this crucial aspect of website maintenance for you. Many companies offer security and maintenance packages that provide you with a specific number of hours each month. These hours don’t roll over, you either use them or lose them. We offer maintenance packages with a set number of hours that never expire. Use them only when you need them.
If you already have one of our maintenance packages, contact us to get HTTPS set up for your site. If you don’t have a maintenance package yet, we can put one together for you. Don’t wait, July is not that far away!