Google clearly stated over the past few years how important it is to have secure websites for visitors. Recently, the search engine giant notified website admins warnings to ensure they protect their site.
If you ever considered adding an HTTPs certificate to your website now is the time. Google wants to warn users not only when sites have an HTTPs certificate on their site, but also when the vital certificate is missing.
Website security is a major issue in the digital world right now. Recent research showed how 40% of the top 100 internet retailers have not secured their ecommerce site. This is scary discrepancy when you consider how many transactions happen over the web.
This article review what warnings Google will send you and how to secure your website.
When you are in the Chrome browser, you can determine if a website is secure or not in a matter of seconds. First, go to the website and then look to the left of the URL. Secure websites have a green “Secure” label next to the domain name along with the http in green as well.
Conversely, a non-secure website shows an information circle. This information could change for websites with forms on them as Google shows the site as unsafe for visitors.
There are two primary reasons webmasters should secure their website. First, Google will rank a site with higher security than an insecure website. Second, unsecure sites can cause more problems for users.
Now that we know this, let’s look at how to secure your website.
First, check your Google Search Console
Google now sends email notifications via the Google Search Console starting in October 2017. This is how the Google Chrome 62 update shows a website as unsecure when they enter data on a website and when users are in Incognito mode.
This information helps you distinguish which pages you need to secure first.
Second, you need to get an SSL certificate.
As we mentioned before, Google uses an SSL certificate as a ranking factor in driving traffic to your website. The SSL certificate is what allows your site to switch from http:// to https://.
The security of your website prevents digital eavesdroppers from steal sensitive customer data.
The easiest way to get an SSL certificate is to contact your host. Many premium hosting plans already include an SSL certificate, so you might have to request the host company turn it on for your website.
Note: there is no difference between paid and free SSL certificates. Both give a higher level of encryption than websites without viable security.
If your hosting company does offer this option, then reach out to your web developer. Shout makes sure that all our clients have an SSL certificate, and we can also help you install a one. Give us a Shout if you need some help.
Once you add the SSL certificate to your website, make sure to verify your new HTTPS site in the Google Search Console. This way, Google knows your site is secure.
Also, submit a new sitemap with the updated URLs. When you add the “s” to the http in the URL, you technically change the URL address. Therefore, you must inform Google about this update by submitting a new sitemap with your new address.
WordPress also has sitemap plugins to make this process easy for you to implement. Using plugins like the All-in-One SEO or Yoast SEO plugins you can update your sitemap in less than two minutes.
Google wants to ensure that the internet is a safe place for all users. They are one of the few companies with the power to do this, especially since they are using this new update as a carrot and stick approach. Secure your website and you will get the carrot of more traffic. Don’t, and they informally blacklist your website with an insecure label and leave your site with less traffic.
If you want to garner increased traffic growth from Google, then it’s time to properly secure your website. Let us help you. Contact us today for a free consultation of your website’s security and search strategy.