Google is punishing websites for not being HTTPS-compliant.
Inevitably, even if your website does not collect data or financial information, if your site retains plain HTTP protocol it will be flagged as Not Secure.
In this article, you’ll learn what it means to have your site flagged as Not Secure, and why it’s absolutely critical to fix it. Spoiler alert: Fat Cat Design can easily fix this for you.
A Primer on SSL, HTTPS, and HTTP
Before we dive into the details of SSL security and HTTPS-compliance, let’s take a look at what a HTTPS-enabled website looks like versus a non-HTTPS website.
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Here’s all you need to know:
If your site does not use HTTPS protocol and does not display the nifty little padlock icon, your site will be marked as Not Secure to site visitors.
You’ll lose potential customers, and your search engine rankings could suffer.
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In web-surfing days of the past, we were accustomed to seeing the padlock icon on e-commerce sites where we purchased items or financial information was entered and stored. This padlock icon, and a URL preceded by HTTPS, signaled that the site or page was protected with a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate and was therefore HTTPS-enabled.
However, as recently as early 2018, you may have noticed new behavior in your computer’s browser, where almost all websites are now alerting you of the site’s security status, regardless of whether or not it conducts financial transactions. Everyday, normal sites that normally would not need to adhere to “strict” security protocol are now being flagged with a message indicating, This Site is Not Secure, meaning there is no SSL certificate associated with the website, and the site is therefore not HTTPS-compliant.
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How Google Changed the Game
As far back as 2014, the all-powerful Google announced its preference for HTTPS-compliant websites, which heralded the beginning of Google’s commitment to HTTPS everywhere on the web. Google later that same year announced that HTTPS would also be used as a search engine ranking signal – meaning HTTPS-enabled sites would be given preference over HTTP sites in its search results.
Fast forward to 2018, when Google effectively began implementing said strategies: marking all non-HTTPS sites as Not Secure, and implementing HTTPS as a search engine ranking signal.
Long story short: If your site is not SSL-compliant or HTTPS-compliant, your website will be marked as Not Secure to site visitors, you’ll lose potential customers, and your search engine rankings could suffer.
While it may seem unwarranted and forced upon us by Google, this new web experience inevitably means that a padlocked site conveys a “safe” online presence that lends trust and credibility. Conversely, a site targeted as Not Secure implies the opposite.
Quick Check – Is Your Website Compliant?
If you’re not sure if your site is SSL/HTTPS-compliant:
- Go to the internet, input your website’s URL, and take a look at your browser’s address bar.
- YES, I’M COMPLIANT:
If the URL of the website begins with https instead of http, is preceded by a padlock icon, and displays Secure, it means the site is secured using an SSL certificate, is HTTPS-enabled, and is therefore HTTPS-compliant.
- NO, I’M NOT COMPLIANT:
If the URL is preceded by http and/or displays Not Secure to the left of the URL, this means your site is not secured with an SSL certificate, is not HTTPS-enabled, and is therefore not HTTPS-compliant.
- YES, I’M COMPLIANT:
Why You Need to Get On Board and Play Google’s Game
If your website is not HTTPS-compliant, here are two big reasons to make it so:
- If your business’ online presence is marked as Not Secure, you lose.
- When your online presence is marked as Not Secure, you could easily lose customers left and right. While it may seem unwarranted and forced upon us by Google, this new web experience inevitably means that a padlocked site conveys a “safe” online presence that lends trust and credibility. Conversely, a site targeted as Not Secure implies the opposite.
- If your site is not HTTPS-compliant, your search engine rankings are affected.
- Being at the mercy of Google and its ever-evolving and convoluted algorithms means your site’s ranking could suffer if your website is not HTTPS-compliant.
But This Doesn’t Apply To Me Because…
If you think:
- Don’t make the critical mistake of discounting the importance of your website and your online business’ presence.
- Before contacting you, a new customer will likely first research your company and your website on the internet. If a search result for your website reflects, This site is not secure, that potential customer will likely move on.
- As for Google rankings, if Google has de-ranked your online presence as a result of non-HTTPS-compliance, and pushed your rankings lower down on page one or, worse, to page two or later in its search results, you will also likely lose those same customers, since most web users don’t browse “below the fold,” let alone beyond the first page of search results.
If you think:
Then let me tell you this:
- Hey, I get it! But converting your site to HTTPS is easily not as difficult or costly as you may imagine.
- That’s where Fat Cat Design can help!
- The minimal investment is easily well worth it when you consider the benefits of retaining customers, gaining new clients, and lending/retaining trust and credibility in your business’ online presence.
If your website is not yet HTTPS-compliant, it’s a step you should consider. It’s not as difficult or costly as you might think, and the benefits of doing so are infinitely well worth it.
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If you’re struggling with getting your website to convert to sales, Fat Cat Design can provide you with a complimentary 30-minute website review and audit.
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