Online security is at the top of mind for many business owners. Stories about the latest security breach, virus, or hacking are all too frequent for website owners and users alike. With that in mind, user privacy is a matter of the highest importance for anyone doing business online. If your business isn’t already utilizing the HTTPS security encryption for your website, now is the time to act. Not only does an HTTPS convey trust and safety to users, but soon unsecured websites will lose ranking, affecting a business’s bottom line. See why HTTPS matters for your website and what actions you need to take right away.
Why the HTTPS Security Encryption Matters for Your Website
Back in 2014, Google made an ‘HTTPS everywhere’ declaration at their I/O conference with the intention to encourage everyone to use HTTPS designation and rewarding the websites who chose to do so. Now that designation is going to be more important than ever.
The HTTPS security encryption is a secure protocol for communication and web browsing. HTTPS encrypts data traveling between a web browser and a web server. This protects your website’s users from “man-in-the-middle” attacks, where someone steals the information being sent to a website, like credit card information or logins. Initially used on websites with highly sensitive information, such as financial institutions, e-commerce sites, and social networks, HTTPS has become the main method of helping ensure secure browsing.
Benefits of HTTPS
The main benefit of HTTPS is obviously keeping visitors secure and their information safe, but that is just the beginning of HTTPS benefits. While there is no intrinsic SEO benefit to websites using HTTPS, Google has announced that it will use HTTPS as a ranking signal in search. Websites that use HTTPS are likely to get a positive bump in search engine results, while pages that use the unsecured version, HTTP, could see a drop in ranking.
Over time Google has given HTTPS more weight, aligning with their HTTPS Everywhere declaration. Over 80% of the sites on the first page of Google are HTTPS, which makes sense because Google wants to ensure the best user experience for their customers. Google doesn’t want to send searchers to insecure sites. Having an HTTPS website will provide website owners with an opportunity for improved ranking on search results pages. It will also allow visitors to browse and interact on websites with increased confidence, leading to an increase in business.
Updated Browser Labels
As Google pushes for all websites to use HTTPS, they are updating their labeling for HTTP sites in Chrome’s URL bar. Currently, HTTP sites are marked with a gray information symbol that tells the user the site is not secure if they click on it. Starting in July Google is going to update that to a red “Not Secure” label that is displayed in plain sight, rather than after a user clicks on the information symbol.
While this label only means that your site is not HTTPS, most users won’t understand that. Users will see ‘not secure’ and feel a sense of uneasiness doing business with a website that displays that label, especially if they are required to provide personal information. Suddenly, something as simple as entering a name, email, and phone number into a basic lead generation form will cause anxiety and concern for website users.
There is already a difference in conversion rates between HTTP and HTTPS websites. That difference will only increase as Google updates their browser labels. With all the buzz about HTTPS, more users are specifically looking for a secure connection when visiting a website.
HTTPS does enable technologies that speed up the user experience, and some new performance-enhancing protocols require HTTPS. AdWords’ speed-enhancing parallel tracking feature requires that all click-measuring URLs use HTTPS.
Make sure that you are prepared for this HTTPS change. A secure connection gives your customers peace of mind that your website can be trusted and that their information is safe. As a website owner make sure that you add an SSL certificate for all live domains, and that you choose to ‘secure all URLs’ on your primary domain to enforce HTTPS on your full website.
HTTPS has become the standard on the web for secure Internet browsing, and companies like Google are giving it a push for total Internet saturation. In an effort to push consumers and site creators toward a safer Internet experience, Google Chrome will soon clearly indicate that sites without HTTPS are ‘not secure.’ If your website doesn’t already have an SSL certificate, it’s time to get one now. HTTPS matters for your website, now more than ever before.