Google is king. Their goal, however annoying it might be to you as a business owner, is to provide quality results for their visitors above all else. Makes sense, right? If Google wasn’t as intuitive, Google would not rule search.
So with this logic, when Google releases a new guideline, we all know this is not a subtle suggestion, but a mandated direction on what your website needs to do in order to be ranked favorably.
A few years ago, Google said, “Make sure your site’s ready for mobile-friendly Google search results,” which forced everyone to convert their websites to a mobile-friendly user experience (thank God)! Now they are doing it again with secure (HTTPS) websites.
In January 2017, Google started to show “Not Secure” for HTTP pages that had password and credit card fields. Since this change, there has been a reduction in visitors going to HTTP pages and entering credit cards and passwords. Now Google is taking the next steps towards its goal of making all information private and secure. Starting in October 2017, Google will show “Not Secure” on all HTTP pages that collect any type of data entered by users.
Even if you aren’t processing credit cards on your site, simple data capture like “Contact us” forms will be penalized for not being secure. At the same time, SEO experts are saying that Google ranks secure websites more favorably in general, regardless of what data is or is not captured.
What should your business do?
Before October 2017, you need to acquire and apply a SSL certificate that can be applied to your website. If you are hosted with WP Engine, they are offering a Free Lets Encrypt SSL Certificate for hosting with them. There are numerous other hosting companies offering the same promotion.
SSL set up: Luckily, converting your website to HTTPS isn’t as huge as converting to a responsive design. It only takes us a couple of hours to set up, depending on hosting and templates.
If you want to talk about this a little more, let us know.