Security is a priority whenever we surf the web, and as the web grows we have become less trusting of almost any website we visit these days. Almost everyone can attest to a time they have been, almost been, or attempted to be scammed online. Think of the times you’ve checked if a product is sold on Amazon after seeing it on a different website to feel that sense of security (of course the convenience of 2 day free shipping never hurts).
This is why in recent years Google has taken major steps to encourage web developers and website owners to transition their websites to secure SSL sites (for the non technical people this can be recognized when a website starts with a https:// as opposed to http://).
1st They Promised Higher Website Rankings
The 1st major step Google took in 2015 to encourage people to secure their websites was to promise website owners a boost in their website rankings on Google. Sure enough, they delivered, with many statistics showing a significant rise in rankings (despite the difficulty in measuring this given all the factors that are taken into account in ranking a site).
Google’s Latest Update: It Won’t Be Pretty!
After some significant success in getting website owners to transition, Google is now taking it to the next level. Starting October 1, 2017 when using Google Chrome, the browser will start displaying warnings that read “Not Secure” on a webpage whenever a user begins to fill out any form on your website. With Google Chrome accounting for almost 60% of the browser market share, that’s a pretty important factor to consider.
This information has not been a secret. Google has been very open and honest about its plans to implement this type of security for its users. They’ve even given information about the new updates to their security and have offered advice as to how to ensure a website transitions to the new regulations as smoothly as possible.
What Steps Should You Take?
Implementing this change on your website may be complicated depending on the platform and structure of your website. There is also the risk that it can cause potential damage to a website database or code if the changes are not properly implemented.
Large websites are at a higher risk when it comes to making a site wide change like this. Often the risk of failure during implementation might not even be worthwhile for this type of change. That’s why it is of the utmost importance to make the change properly the first time around and discuss your options with your current web developer. Even major websites like Wired.com have reported facing problems switching over to a secure platform.
Google has given a deadline of October 1, 2017, before these changes will go into effect, which means there is no time to waste. If you are a website owner, I highly encourage you to get ahead of the game, as it could have a serious impact on converting new business.
Putting aside the negative impact of this update, if your site depends on traffic generated by search engine rankings there are big SEO benefits to consider as well. With the majority of websites still not secured, you can get ahead of your competitors that lack these security measures. You have an opportunity to take advantage of rankings as well as the opportunity to assure your visitors that your site is a place they can feel safe.