Starting July 2018, all Chrome users will see a warning for all non-HTTPS websites. More than 50% of Internet browsers worldwide are Chrome. Trust me, you have customers using Chrome.

But first, a little historical context. As far back as 2014, Google was giving preferential rankings to websites with an SSL certificate. It’s part of their effort to promote a more secure Internet for all of their users.

Google has stated that their goal is to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

What is an SSL? I like this definition from Network Solutions…

“An SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer), also called a Digital Certificate, creates a secure link between a website and a visitor’s browser. By ensuring that all data passed between the two remains private and secure, SSL encryption prevents hackers from stealing private information such as credit card numbers, names and addresses.” – Network Solutions

As you can see, having an SSL certificate on your website will create a safer space for you and your customers by protecting everyone’s data from compromise. It’s not a failsafe, but it still makes a big difference.

So much so that Google is now doubling down on security. They’ve stressed time and again that having an SSL will positively affect your rankings. And every little bit helps!

Does Your Website Need An SSL Certificate?

The easiest way to tell if your website has an SSL is to copy (control/command+C) and paste (control/command + V) your SSL into a doc or note and see what the URL looks like…

Is Your Website Secure?

  • A website without an SSL will look like this: http://www.woodstreet.com
  • A website with an SSL certificate will look this: https://www.woodstreet.com

That little ‘s’ makes all the difference. This tells the browser that your website has an SSL and is therefore, secure. In most browsers, you will also see a lock or some sort of friendly security notice…

That little notice assures the user that they’re in a safe place. With all of the hacking and identity theft going on these days, we need assurance that a website is safe before we’re willing to give up any info or buy anything.

If your website does not have that little ‘s’, not only will it not show that friendly secure notice, but Chrome users will see a warning…

This could drive visitors away! Think about it. Would you do business with a website that was marked “Not secure?” I wouldn’t and I’m willing to be a bunch of your clients wouldn’t either.

So, not only has Google stated on many occasions that a website with an SSL will get a better ranking than one without, but they will also warn users against using those without an SSL as well.

This will affect your traffic and rankings.

Good News: It’s An Easy Fix!

Setting up an SSL certificate is a simple process. And the certificate itself is less than $100 a year. A small price to pay to avoid losing traffic and rankings. Just ask your web manager to install an SSL.

If you need some help setting up your SSL, please contact us and we’ll make your website secure!

For more on this announcement, please read this article from Search Engine Land.

Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.

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