UPDATE: Google has advised that websites not using SSL by the 1st of July 2018 will be marked as insecure. This will negatively effect search engine rankings as well as user trust.
Google recently sent a reminder to website owners that SSL as a ranking factor (for Google search results) will be given more weight starting from the 1st of July 2018. At the same time, Google will be releasing an update to their Google Chrome web browser (Chrome 68) that will visually let users know when they are visiting an insecure site by using the words “Not secure” in the address bar, see screenshot below. Note that Google Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world and therefore this will effect a large amount visitors to your website. As a website owner, you’ll want to make sure your site is secure to ensure trust among your visitors.
You may have heard about SSL when it comes to websites and online shopping in particular, to put it simply, SSL is a system to protect information being sent between you and a website. Think credit card details when you shop online or your email address and password when you log in to a website, you don’t want this information falling into the hands of hackers, or worse, the government! SSL is like a tin foil hat that prevents outsiders from accessing your personal data when you surf the web.
What Are the Advantages of SSL?
Besides the obvious of protecting your information from being stolen, SSL provides two other distinct advantages for website owners. The first is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), Google has announced that websites using SSL will rank higher in search results than an equally ranked non-SSL search result, effectively making it a tiebreaker. The other advantage is user trust – when a user visits a website and see’s the padlock, it reassures the customer that the website is safe to use. This is particularity important for an online shop as customers will feel more comfortable about entering their personal information, in particular, their payment information.
Do I Already Have SSL?
There are a number of ways to check if a website is using SSL, thankfully, modern web browsers have made it easier. The easiest way to check is to visit the website and look for the padlock icon in or near the address bar. Depending on the browser you’re using, the padlock can appear on the left or right of the website address, the screenshot below shows an example from Google Chrome. Another indicator is the beginning of the website address, if it starts with https:// then the website is using SSL, if it starts with http:// (without the “s”) then this is not secure and you should not enter any personal information on this website.
Certificate? How Do I Get One?
To make SSL work, we need an SSL certificate installed on the website server. To get an SSL certificate installed for your website, contact your web developer. If your website is with us, please call on 1300 733 088 or submit an enquiry from our contact page.