Recent news released by a Google developer specializing in website security, has confirmed the search giant appears ready to “flag” unencrypted sites as insecure. Beginning back in August 6, 2014, Google announced to developers that it would begin the process of using HTTPS as a ranking signal for search results, meaning sites offering a secure connection would receive a higher search engine ranking than sites that did not offer it. Google followed a similar process in its ranking marker of mobile-friendly of 2015 to 2016.
The news that the time has come that Google will now score the security feature came as a major concern for small businesses because creating, installing, and maintaining website encryption was, in some cases, expensive and/or labor intensive.
The good news is that security installation has become fairly simple and inexpensive.
In this blog post we investigate the seriousness of these effects so that we could offer our clients the best solutions. As additional validation, we reached out to one of our hosting partners and they, too, acknowledged that this is not a fad. Cyber security and encryption will only become more important SEO factors as time goes on.
What does this mean for businesses?
All businesses with a website should consider using HTTPS for all the content within their site as there will be a benefit to their Google search rankings at least in the short term.
Why is this important?
Just as you enjoy logging into certain websites and knowing that your personal information and passwords are kept secure, it is important that you offer the same experience for each of your online visitors. Additionally, offering an encrypted connection to your site will boost your website score on most major website graders and also increase your Google SEO ranking.
But I don’t store any personal information on my site. Do I still need SSL?
HTTPS does not just provide secrecy, but also authenticity, which is always of value. Without it, a malicious attacker can rewrite any part of your site before displaying it to the user. This could include:
- Injecting ads for your competitors
- Injecting ads or annoying widgets that make your site look bad and harm your reputation
- Replacing software downloads from your site with ones that have bundled malware or viruses
- Lowering the quality of your images
- Removing parts of your site they don’t want you to see, e.g. things that compete with their own services or depict them in a bad light
What can you do about it?
All Kerigan Marketing client websites which participate in a monthly maintenance plan have already had their websites upgraded to this level of security at no additional charge. For clients not subscribing to a monthly maintenance plan, or for those websites hosted with another provider, contact us and ask how we can deliver this type of security to your site.
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