Most web surfers would know by now that if you’re handing over your credit card details online, you should always look for the green lock icon or “https” in the web URL to ensure that your information is kept safe. However even fewer would know that secure sites (who have this “https” in their URL) are looked upon more favorably by Google – meaning their search ranking can be prioritised above others based on the idea that since they are more safe and secure, they are more credible and trustworthy as a site. Whilst some clients can’t justify the added expense of an SSL certificate, I think more are about to.
Google has announced that from July onwards, they will be releasing an update to Google Chrome which will display an extra warning notification in the address bar for those sites which don’t have an SSL certificate. Google currently displays a subtle, neutral exclamation icon for insecure sites which goes relatively unnoticed but starting from version 68, the browser will return an extra, red notification which is much more obvious and could be a deterrent to site visitors.
This update comes at no surprise, since Google have been urging web administrators to ensure their sites are encrypted in order to prevent malicious activity for years. To give you a technical refresh of how an SSL certificate helps prevent this, HTTPS encryption protects the channel between the website you’re viewing and your web browser – making sure that no one can intercept your input of personal information. Someone with access to the same network you’re using at the time can sniff out this information (worst case scenario, your financial/security data) and use it with ill-intent.
Make sure your website has an SSL certificate installed before July to not only reap the SEO benefits, but ensure you look credible and trustworthy to your audience.