Google and HTTPS Compliance
On January 31st 2017, version 56 of the Chrome web browser was released. There is a significant change in the way it displays websites that are not using HTTPS, also known as SSL. This change may confuse your site visitors or surprise you if you are not expecting it.
Google is really pushing HTTPS for all websites now. Not only that but they are beginning to insist on every page being HTTPS compliant - not just contact form or checkout pages!
Any website that is not running HTTPS will have a message appear in the Google Chrome location bar that says “Not Secure” on pages that collect passwords or credit cards. It will look like this:
If it's only Google Chrome, it's No Big Deal, Right?
Wrong! There's two reasons why, as web designers and web administrators with businesses to run, we must take this very seriously.
Firstly, according to current Browser Market Share statistics, Google Chrome accounts for 60% of all website traffic. So, if you're not playing nice with Chrome, you're taking a pretty big risk.
Secondly, since Google is the single biggest search engine (and we mean biggest by far!) it will ultimately hurt your SEO and therefore your web page rankings if you don't comply with the HTTPS protocol.
How Do I Comply?
Firstly, purchase and implement an SSL certificate for your website. The prices for certificates vary, with the more expensive ones giving extra validation for your website. SSL certificates need to be renewed annually, so consider this when making your purchasing decision.
Secondly, ask your developer to switch your site over to the 'HTTPS' protocol. This involves some changes to how your site serves pages and rewrites URLs.
Thirdly, eliminate any 'mixed content' issues. These issues are bound to arise on at least some of your website pages. You can learn more about mixed content here. Your web developer can assist with this also.
Finally, don't forget to let Google know that the HTTPS version of your website is the only one you want it to crawl and assess for SEO purposes.