You might have heard a lot of noise in the digital world about secure websites after Google’s latest decision to change the way it displays secure and unsecure websites to the user. But what does HTTPS mean and how does it affect me? Our digital manager Shaun explains more.

What is HTTPS?

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the way that data between a website and browser – such as Safari or Google Chrome – is sent over. A HTTPS connection ensures that the data being transferred is encrypted whilst the non-secure alternative, HTTP, does not create a secured connection. In practise, this means if you’re filling out your personal details on an unsecure website, there is potential for data interception.

What is SSL?

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is the technology which encrypts the link between a browser and a website. When a HTTPS connection is requested, the website will send an SSL certificate to the user’s browser. An SSL certificate is required to confirm a unique and secure connection to the user’s browser, which will display like:

Example of a HTTPS secure URL

In order for a website to display as secure, an SSL certificate must be purchased.

Why is HTTPS important?

Multiple ranking correlation studies have shown a positive relationship with Google rankings and HTTPS. HTTPS connections are an important trust signal for your site, and research has found users are less likely to enter sensitive information over a non-secure connection.

Google meanwhile has confirmed that HTTPS is a ranking factor on its search Algorithm, meaning moving to HTTPS could lead to an increase in visits for your website.

Recently, Google has begun to issue a warning in Google Chrome when a site contains sensitive input fields over a non-secure connection. If ignored your website may begin to display in a user’s browser as follows:

Example of an insecure URL

Google Chrome accounts for a massive 57% of web traffic and therefore having a unsecure warning issued to the majority of your traffic could severely impact your website. If this wasn’t concerning enough, Google’s web developers blog revealed plans to eventually “show a Not Secure warning for all pages served over HTTP, regardless of whether or not the page contains sensitive input fields.”

What can I do to make my site secure?

Half of websites on Page 1 of Google search results are now HTTPS. Securing your site with HTTPS doesn’t have to be a costly and complicated procedure. Purchase an SSL certificate for your site and move the site onto the HTTPS URLs. We have a team of experienced SEO experts who can help you with the migration process – just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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