Google has been nudging users away from unencrypted sites for years. That nudge is about to become a push as Chrome 68 rolls out in July, complete with updates that will prominently indicate whether or not a website is secure.
For those unfamiliar with SSL certificates, they are what prevent a third party from accessing any traffic that passes between your web server and your reader’s browser. Some websites start with HTTP:// and others read HTTPS://. The “S” is the difference between a secured or unsecured site. This can be a big deal for sites passing sensitive information like credit cards or social security numbers.
What a SSL Looks Like
Google has been working for years to encourage SSL website encryption. When browsing the internet, you may have encountered warnings that you were about the to enter an unencrypted field. Even for users who may not know what that means, the warning alone can be enough to make them hit the back button. Secured sites are usually indicated by a green padlock preceding the URL.
Chrome 68 Update
After years of warnings, Google feels like they finally have enough websites with SSL certificates that they can release an update identifying unsecured sites. Instead of a green padlock and the word “secure,” Google Chrome users can expect to see the caution symbol and the words “not secure,” possibly in red.
So far, this will only affect users who browse with Google Chrome, though other major browsers are likely to follow suit.
SSL Certificate Effects on SEO
In 2015 Google began downranking unencrypted websites. It already takes enough time and effort to secure page rank using proper SEO strategies. It would be a shame to let those efforts be overridden because of a lack of security.
If you need help with your SSL certificate or want clarification on how this will affect your website, please give the professionals at Tree Ring Digital a call!