Google Will Be Noting Unsecure Sites in Search in the Upcoming Year
If your website isn’t secure, with a certificate to prove it, you could soon start taking a hit in the all-important Google search rankings. The search giant has just announced another step in a campaign to persuade site owners to use the secure https:// system rather than the older, unsecured http.
Secure sites mean data is encrypted when it passes back and forth between the user and the website, making it virtually useless to any hackers that intercept it. As part of the security system, sites need a certificate that’s used to confirm their identity to the user’s web browser.
Prepare For Penalties
Google has just switched to a system of always looking for a secure version of a web page and giving it priority over an unsecure version of the same page in the rankings. This will override other usual ranking criteria, such as whether the page has inbound links from other pages and sites.
While this won’t immediately affect the position of pages and sites in search rankings themselves, it’s a very clear indication that Google is gung-ho for site security. It seems only a matter of time before it starts actively penalizing websites such that unsecured sites appear lower in the rankings even if they are more relevant to the search term in question. That could mean a significant loss of inbound traffic and business.
It’s not just rankings you have to worry about. From January, the Chrome browser, which is used by a majority of web users worldwide, will actively label any http sites as unsecure if they contain fields for entering passwords or card numbers. The warning will appear as a red warning triangle next to the address bar, making it highly visible.
Google has already said that this is just a first step to showing the “insecure” icon for any http site, regardless of its content. That could mean a big loss of trust among site visitors, making it more likely they’ll take their business elsewhere.
How do I install a SSL certificate?
This step is really going to depend on what hosting company you are on. With the implintation of the Let’s Encrypt project you may be able to obtain a free certificate.
Here are links to the popular hosting sites instructions:
The good news is if you are on one of JL Design’s Client Care plans your site already has the SSL certificate installed. Your site is already prepared for this move.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help make your site secure and install the relevant digital certificate, get in touch with us here today.