Time is up for "http" websites, as Google’s Chrome Browser moves to label them ‘not secure’, and lower their search rankings – starting right now.
Well, it’s finally happened. Google’s long-promised security upgrade to the world’s favourite browser, Chrome, is rolling out this July. It’s Chrome version 68, and as it comes into effect, http sites will feel the pinch with a ‘not secure’ label and a lower search engine ranking than more secure "https" sites.
This change has been in the works for a long time, and there’s a good reason for it: http sites aren’t secure. They are vulnerable to cyber attacks: having your details stolen, your online movements monitored, and being fed misinformation are just some of the dangers of visiting non-secure sites.
http – HyperText Transfer Protocol – has been the standard protocol for connecting users with websites since it was first developed in 1989. But as use of the web evolved, the need for security increased. Cue https: the secure version of http that encrypts data, so that it remains secure as it’s transmitted.
https got the gong from Google after the company rigorously tested the protocol in 2014. The company has been encouraging the use of https ever since. In 2015, Google adjusted its indexing system to prioritise https sites, and the web responded: by late 2016 some 50 per cent of sites were loaded with https.
In January 2017, Chrome version 56 commenced marking sites that collected credit card or passwords as ‘not secure’. The result? By late 2017, 68 per cent of Chrome traffic on Android and Windows and 78 per cent of Chrome traffic on Chrome OS and Mac was to https sites.
And now, in 2018, Chrome 68 will label all http sites ‘not secure’. Judging by past results there’s little doubt that, in time, just about every site will switch over to https.
‘Having a https site marked “not secure” presents a red light for visitors from the get-go,’ explains Red Cloud Digital co-founder, Carmen Watts. ‘It interrupts the trust exercise. Users want proof the site they are visiting is secure. If it’s not, you risk your visitors going elsewhere. It’s as simple as that.’
Not to mention that a http site will now mean such a low Google search engine ranking that, chances are, people might not even find your site to begin with. It’s probably fair to say that making sure your site is https is even more important to ensuring good search engine rankings than fast load times or making sure your site is mobile responsive. And you do want people to be able to find your site, right?
The good news is – switching over to a secure, https site is easy. Call Red Cloud today.