Google Strengthens Their Advocacy for a Secure Web – and Your Site May Be Impacted - Envision Technology Advisors' blog

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Google Strengthens Their Advocacy for a Secure Web – and Your Site May Be Impacted

For quite some time now, Envision has been advising our clients on the benefits of using an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate on their website.

While the advantages of delivering a website securely have been reason enough for many companies to make the change to HTTPS, an announcement that Google made on February 8th, 2018 has now made this a “must do” for all companies.

Google Says “A Secure Web is Here to Stay”

Previously, Google had rewarded companies who delivered their webpages via HTTPS with improved search results, but this latest announcement goes even further. Beginning in July of 2018, Google will mark any webpage that is not delivered via HTTPS as “Not Secure”, a designation which could severely impact a site’s traffic, and not in a good way!

Browser address bar showing a not secure website

In practical terms, this new policy means that any site still using HTTP will have this “Not Secure” designation listed in the address bar at the top of the browser in Chrome. You can see an example of this in this image.

What About Search Results?

Currently, Google has not said whether or not they will also attach this “Not Secure” designation to search results pages, but with the company’s push to “make the web safer for everyone”, I personally believe that they will do just that in the near future.

So what does this mean for you if you site is not currently under and SSL? It means that starting in the middle of 2018, people who do a search for the product or services that your company offers, and who land on your website, will be greeted with the declaration that your site is “Not Secure”. That alone could be reason enough for someone to leave your website, especially in this day of cyberattacks and online security concerns.

Taking this a step further, if Google does, indeed, begin to include this “Not Secure” label in search results pages, that your site could be listed alongside your competitors with your website listed as “Not Secure” and theirs listed as “Secure.” I don’t know about you, but I know which one I would click on! The bottom line is that a site listed at “Not Secure” will drive traffic away from your site, or it may give them a reason to never visit your website in the first place.

How Do I Become Secure?

The good news in all this is that bringing your website under an SSL is almost always a pretty painless process. It typically requires some work on the part of the company you use for website hosting (they will need to install the SSL), as well as the company who manages your site (they will have to update the links to pages and resources to use HTTPS instead of HTTP). You can get started by contacting your that website management team and let them know that you would like to start using HTTPS.  If you don’t currently have someone who manages you site, or you are considering making a change, you can also contact Envision for help with this important update.  

Not Sure if You Are Using an SSL Currently?

The easiest way to check if your site is currently using an SSL is to open that site in Google Chrome and look at the address bar. If there is a little “lock” icon and the word “Secure”, your site is all set (you can see this in the included image). If you do not see this label, your site is not using HTTPS.

Browser address bar showing a secure website

Additionally, you can actually type in your full website address and include the HTTPS designation (for example, https://www.your-website.com). If you receive an error message telling you that there is a problem with the site’s certificate, what that likely means is you don’t have one. In these cases, you will want to contact the team that manages your website to get the ball rolling on securing your site for your company and your visitors!

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