Google Wants You to Secure Your Website with SSL

Is your site secured with SSL? If not, it’s time to fix it.

Security is one of Google’s highest priorities. The last thing they want is to provide a link to a website which leads to you being hacked.

Hacking, phishing and all of that bad stuff can lead to identity theft, propagation of malware and viruses and more. It’s in their best interest to ensure people using their search engine have the best website experience possible and they have ways of encouraging website owners to improve it.

Whenever Google and Bing decree something must change to improve their customers experience, they will penalise non-conforming websites by improving the ranking of those who do confirm in their search results. Sometimes this can be passed on to quality scores in paid ads like AdWords which can heavily impact your ad costs. This is bad for your business as it will reduce the traffic to your website: visitors to your website may well leave on seeing your site isn’t safe.

A website secured by SSL on Google Chrome web browser
You want your website to look as trustworthy as possible.

Google announced in August 2014 that having SSL on your website would be a minor positive ‘ranking signal’ for SEO but that would eventually be increased:

“we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal—affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content—while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

In September 2016, the announcement came from Google that as of January 2017 they would be deprecating HTTP (non-SSL) and increase the warnings for websites without SSL certificates. It’s fair to say that this will be also come with the increase in positive ranking signals for sites which have SSL.

What does this actually mean for your website which doesn’t have SSL?

Ranking signals improve your rank on search engines, so not having them will make your website less competitive with those which have.

Eventually, this might mean that you will no longer appear in the most effective positions on Google Search results, meaning your competitors may well get the first click, increase the chance that they get the business that you want.

The other main issue for your website is trust. When a site is secured by SSL on Chrome, it gets a big green padlock and ‘SECURE’ next to the web address, as shown in the image on the right.

If your site is an e-commerce site, people want to see this as it means their online transactions are more likely to be secure than one without an SSL certificate. For a site without e-commerce, you’d prefer to know that your privacy is assured by being secured by SSL and eventually people will come to expect to see it.

How can I fix this?

Getting an SSL certificate has been made much easier nowadays as there are free options. You may need the assistance from a web developer to put a certificate on your website.

If you are on WordPress, you can take advantage of increasing your security substantially by moving to WPEngine.

Not only do they provide outstanding security features and daily backups, you can quickly and easily obtain a free Letsencrpt SSL certificate.WPEngine Letsencrypt free SSL certificates

I got my SSL certificate but it’s not working?

Unfortunately, it can be a bit technical to get the SSL certificate to work. If you think you have done everything correctly, talk to your hosting company, and WPEngine’s technical support team can assist with this.

If you still can’t get it resolved, drop us a line and we can help you get everything working again.

P.S. It might be time to look at what pop-ups you have on your website too

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