Your Website Is Insecure!
Well not necessarily, but from 2017 in Googles eyes and in the eyes of your customers and the world it will be! This is because of Google’s never-ending quest for a safer and healthier world wide web it will be flagging all websites that are not using the HTTPS protocol as insecure.
Currently unless you have purchased an SSL Certificate your website will be on HTTP protocol (note the missing “S” on the end), this means that any data transmitted via your website whether that be for a purchase or a simple contact form, customer information can be intercepted between the users computer and your website. This can then be stolen/changed & amended for various criminal purposes.
From 2017 Google is going to highlight to end users (your customers) if your website has or doesn’t have an SSL certificate in place, this will state that you are transmitting data via the insecure HTTP protocol, initially this will be rolled this out via their own (worlds biggest and most used) browser, Chrome, you can guarantee that all of the other providers that make up the rest of the browser market will follow suit very quickly to show their willingness to promote a more secure web.
Highlighting Your Problem
The initial rollout starts in Jan 2017 and your website will then start to be flagged as insecure, the initial notification will be flagged in the address bar showing a “Not Secure“ statement. This will evolve over the course of the year with the addition of a Red Exclamation Mark highlighting the message and further raising awareness that your potential clients’ information could be stolen in transit when using your website.
In a recent article on Google’s security blog, Emily Schechter stated “To help users browse the web safely, Chrome indicates connection security with an icon in the address bar. Historically, Chrome has not explicitly labelled HTTP connections as non-secure”. Emily continued to say; “Chrome currently indicates HTTP connections with a neutral indicator. This doesn’t reflect the true lack of security for HTTP connections. When you load a website over HTTP, someone else on the network can look at or modify the site before it gets to you..”.
Whilst Google’s intentions are good there will be obvious side effects during the transition to HTTPS, customers visiting your website from 2017 will be warned about the lack of SSL and the potential data loss. This could result in fewer visits to your website as well as fewer sales or contact completely, therefore, it is essential that business owners act fast to avoid any issues.
SSL & Why You Need It
SSL or Secure Socket Layer is the protocol that encrypts any data transmitted between a user/customer and your website, by jumbling up the message, contact details or payment information that your customers submit stopping any would be interceptors and hackers gathering your clients’ personal information in the milliseconds before it arrives with you.
Adding an SSL certificate to encrypt your customers’ data will not necessarily increase sales or conversions but it will ensure that customers visiting your site or wishing to contact/purchase your goods will have the peace of mind and know that yours is a professional and legitimate business and that their data is safely submitted to you only.
Security With Benefits!
As well as the security aspect of SSL there are also a couple of positive side effects to having your website run through HTTPS Protocol. HTTPS is a slightly faster service and can give your website an improved load time, the knock-on effect of this is a quicker website in the eyes of the Google Gods!
Secondly, as Google is trying to ensure a safer web, sites with SSL certificates will now benefit from a slight ranking improvement, it’s not a huge jump in amongst the other 200+ ranking factors that they use to determine your website position but it is a positive one for sure. So, it’s clear that getting your website converted to HTTPS sooner rather than later will mean more than just a secure and trusted environment for your customers.
How Will Visitors Know I have SSL
There are several ways that your customers can tell that you have a secure website with SSL installed, the first and most obvious will be the lack of the Red Exclamation that flags your site as insecure, the second will be the HTTPS at the beginning of your website address displayed in the address bar at the top of your browser and probably most notable is the padlock symbol that appears in the address bar in front of your domain name. Take a peak above at prgeeks.co.uk and you will see that we already have SSL installed to make sure any data you send us is encrypted.
GeekSecure™ Sets The Standard
We understand the serious implications that this notification will have on businesses, if for one-second your customer thinks your site is insecure, you could lose them as a client forever. PR Geeks have a solution that doesn’t require any input from you the website owner. Historically each website owner would have had to liaise with the certificate providers and the hosting company to arrange the setup of SSL and get that coveted HTTPS standing.
These days, we do everything for you, from selecting and installing the certificate, renewing it automatically each quarter and also most importantly we scan your website and update all non-secure HTTP links to their HTTPS counterparts ensuring that every part of your content is seen as secure.
If your website is HTTP (non-secured) then please get in touch with the team to pre-empt the changes and stay one step ahead of Google.
Lee Panchbhaya is the Managing Director of Gloucestershire based PR Geeks Digital Marketing.
PR Geeks work with partners of all type and size, helping them achieve their desired business goals, whether that be creating a branded presence online or engaging their existing customers through Social Media Management and Email Marketing Strategies.