It’s been a while since we first wrote an article about Google’s announcement of taking HTTPS into account as a ranking factor for a website. Back in the late summer of 2014 when Google first mentioned the switch the web world took notice and most tech companies made the necessary changes to comply with Google’s new standards.
Now, over 3 years later, Google has taken their HTTPS standards even further, in hopes of forcing the rest of the web world to follow. Based on the new checks set in place, websites that collect any type of data through a website login or even a search field, will now be marked as unsecure and indicate so to their users when viewed in Google Chrome. Furthermore, Google has announced that in the near future all websites without HTTPS will be marked as unsecure, an effort that will start in sometime in early 2018.
HTTPS is the secure, encrypted protocol used to transfer web content to browsers. Enabling HTTPS requires the website owner to purchase or acquire a "certificate" that is trusted by browsers. The goal of HTTPS is to make the web more secure in general, so internet traffic cannot be snooped on by unauthorized parties, ranging from people at coffee shops to your employer, and even the network provider themselves.
In realistic terms, what does this change mean to everyday users and website owners who choose to operate without HTTPS standards?
First of all, upon load of the website in Chrome or typing in an input field (even a search field), website visitors will see the following message next to your URL: NOT SECURE. Having this unsecure message will certainty instill some degree of mistrust in the company’s website with its users, but the question stands, how many users will be deterred from using and interacting with a website that’s displaying the unsecure message.
Secondly, and probably more quantifiable effect would be a decrease in website’s ranking position on search engines based on Google’s announcement that HTTPS will now be factored into the websites Search Engine rankings algorithm.
At Logic Media, we have adopted the use of HTTPS as our own standard after Google’s original announcement, and all new client websites include and start with proper HTTPS setup. Contact us today to learn more.