Google’s new SSL changes will affect you if you still have an http website

Google’s new SSL changes will create a more secure internet. But you will lose customers and rankings if your website is not compliant.

What if your website were to stop working for you? No leads, no sales, and no results in search engines like Google? All payments rejected by your payment gateway?

An unlikely scenario? Not if you still have an http website! From 1st October 2017, Google made SSL certificates a must. This means that if your web address starts with http:// (and not https://), then you need to make some changes. If you don’t, then your website will be penalised by Google.

So why is Google insisting on these new SSL changes?

Google is making changes to protect consumers. Websites without an SSL certificate are not secure. Customer data is much more likely to be compromised via an http website.

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. An SSL certificate with a high grade proves that you have satisfied a complicated set of encrypting requirements over your website.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s used to transmit secure communications over a computer network, like the internet. It helps to keep your data safe so that no one can tamper with it or intercept it, and to make sure it isn’t forged. (HTTP is a non-secure version of HTTPS.)

What do Google look at?

Back in 2014, Google first called for the HTTPS protocol to be used on every website, citing a more secure internet as their reason. Google are concerned with 3 main aspects of your website when they are measuring how secure it is:

  • Authentication
  • Data Integrity
  • Encryption
Authentication

verifies the ownership of your website It’s not uncommon for people to make replicas of legitimate websites in order to make money illegally. Most people already check for the green padlock symbol in their address bar before making an online transaction or sharing their personal information.

Data integrity

refers to whether the data has been altered when it’s in transit. If someone knows your website isn’t secure, they can tamper with the data being transmitted.

Encryption

is the security of the communications between the customer and the server to make sure no one else can read them. For example, it’s really important to encrypt the data in contact forms, as well as credit card information for ecommerce sites.

How does this affect your customers?

From 1st October 2017, if you do not have an https:// website, then the Chrome browser warns customers that your site is not secure. All http websites will be displayed with a red padlock next to them in the Chrome browser. If you have a correctly installed SSL certificate, then there will be a green padlock instead.

What does this mean for your business?

An incorrectly installed SSL certificate (or not having one at all) will heavily impact the amount of traffic going through to non-secure websites. If you don’t have an SSL certificate on your website, you run a massive risk of losing valuable business. This is especially critical for those who rely on their website traffic for direct leads and sales. Existing customers may not be able to make purchases either, because eCommerce payment gateways (like PayPal, Stripe etc.) are stopping all payments going through non-secure sites.

What can you do to avoid any problems?

Ensure that your website benefits from Google’s new SSL changes by:

  • making sure you have an SSL certificate correctly installed across your entire site, including all your images, forms and content
  • testing your SSL certificate to make sure it has a high rating – you can do this here. You should aim for an A+ rating. Anything less and your customers are at risk and Google will mark you down.

Outerbridge support plans

All Outerbridge support customers already have highly-rated SSL certificates (and have had so for a long time). You can read more about SSL certificates here, in a blog post that Mike wrote back in 2016. Looking after SSL certificates is just one of the many things that we do for our customers. We keep on top of these types of changes so that they never have to worry.

If you need help with setting up an SSL certificate to comply with Google’s new SSL rules, speak to your website hosting company, or contact us for information and advice.

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