Starting in July 2018, Google will be marking all websites not secured with a properly configured secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate as “Not Secure” for users of Google Chrome. In short, unless you have the green lock or other secure message showing up in your web browser (i.e. https://) when your site is displayed, your website visitors will receive a security warning from Google Chrome.
Before your say, “not everyone uses Chrome,” let’s talk numbers. According to StatCounter, nearly 60% of global website browsing is done on Google Chrome. Second place is Apple Safari at a paltry 14% and those numbers are holding steady. From mobile devices to desktops, your website could be flagged with a detrimental security warning.
I also recommend reading a summary from Search Engine Land.
What Is An SSL? Why Does It Matter For My Website?
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is kind of like an ISO rating for a manufacturer. An SSL will document the relationship between the website and a known web server. Data passed between the web server (your website host) and the user’s computer or device will remain private.
While SSLs were originally intended for secure financial transactions in e-commerce or ensuring private delivery of online form data, Google has taken it to the next level. Requiring an SSL to ensure high quality web browsing is a gateway to future impacts to search results. To ensure better search performance, put an SSL in place.
How Do I Avoid Being Flagged As “Not Secure” By Google
Depending on your comfort level or experience, the process may best be completed by your website developer or web hosting provider. This may incur billable charges.
Check your website
There are several free tools to check if you have an SSL. The first one is to simply visit your website from your browser. Does a green lock or other green bar appear? Does https:// appear in your URL? These are quick indicators that an SSL is in place.
If you do see a positive indicator for an SSL, confirm it with either:
Ask your developer or web hosting provider
In maintaining your website, we hope you have good relations with both your developer and hosting provider. Give us a shout if you don’t.
Many small businesses and non-profit groups are scrambling to get their website SSLs installed. By collaborating with your website’s developer or directly with your hosting provider, you should be able to have it completed in a timely manner. Configuring and installing the SSL can provide some challenges, so be prepared for some bumps in the road – especially if you have an older website.
Developers, here is Google’s guide.
Don’t Stop with the SSL
Once the SSL is in place, or if your SSL is in place to begin with, there is still more you can do. Here is a quick checklist for getting your website humming with Google.
- Get your website setup with Google’s Search Console
- Run Google’s site assessment tool
- Check your mobile site speed
- Confirm you don’t have any broken links
Some of these items may require your developer’s assistance to resolve, but once you implement the changes you’ll start seeing results.
How Can You Get Help with an SSL?
Signalfire’s creative guides and outfitters are a great resource for helping get your website ready. From setting up an SSL to developing a more search-friendly website, our web development team can create the site you need to convert your web presence from a cost center to a profit center.
Signal for help, and we’ll be there!