Google wants a more secure web, and is rolling out phased changes to its Chrome browser to encourage website owners to switch to HTTPS, also known as SSL. Very soon, non-HTTPS sites will be labeled as “Not Secure” by Chrome.
Google announced in September that Chrome has already begun to mark non-secure pages containing password and credit card input fields as “Not Secure” in the URL bar. However, Google has confirmed that in the near future, this warning will appear on all pages served over HTTP rather than HTTPS, and that it will be more prominently displayed in red, as per the example below. This kind of warning is naturally not the kind of visual cue any of us would like associated with our online brand presence.
Make the change from HTTP to HTTPS to avoid the “Not Secure” warning. After converting your site to HTTPS, your visitors will be notified that your site is secure in reassuring green text, as below.
If you’re interested in hearing more direct from Google on this, watch this video which explains why they are pushing the “HTTPS Everywhere” initiative.
If you’re still not convinced that it’s worthwhile making the transition, consider this: as far back as 2014, Google introduced HTTP as a factor in SEO ranking, albeit a weak one. They indicated back then that they may increase the strength of this as an SEO ranking factor over time. Research shows that there is already a reasonable correlation between HTTPS and first page google search rankings. So, switch now if you want to avoid losing your hard-earned Google search results ranking.
What are the costs involved?
There are two aspects to this from a cost perspective. The first is the once-off cost of your developer/agency making the switch for you. This isn’t a major undertaking, although it is fiddly – depending on your site, it should range between 4 to 8 hours to do.
The second cost factor is the cost of your SSL certificate. The good news here is that where historically players like Symantec have charged around $1500 per year for certificates, a new initiative called “The Let’s Encrypt” initiative has gained widespread acceptance and offers SSL certificates completely free.
Where to from here?
A last note is a word of caution: in a recent analysis of the top 10 000 domains, only 10% had a flawless HTTPS set up. As mentioned earlier in this article, making the switch is a fiddly exercise, and whoever handles it must be aware of the SEO implications of the transition. As an example, a common error is failing to use 301 redirects, which significantly impacts upon your resultant SEO rankings.
Get in touch with us if you need help in migrating your website to HTTPS.