What is Google SSL, and what does it mean for you? | Piranha Solutions

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What is Google SSL and what does it mean for your website?d

By piranha

30th May 2017

Google SSL

Throughout 2017, Google Chrome will begin labelling non-SSL sites as security risks. This development will be extremely important to our clients, and in this article, we will explain why.

What is SSL?

SSL is a type of software that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This encryption prevents data from being intercepted between your computer and the website’s server.

In the past, this technology was only really used on ecommerce sites where sensitive information (like bank card details) was passed between the visitor and the site.

However, Google has been moving towards a more secure internet for a few years now and Chrome will soon begin actively highlighting all non-secure sites as potentially dangerous.

How can you tell if a site is secure?

The URL of a site is the best place to look. All websites display their protocol type before the domain name (either HTTP or HTTPS). The URLs of secure sites always be HTTPS.

If a site is secure, a padlock icon will also appear next to the URL:

This message reassures users that their information – whether it’s sensitive or not – is fully encrypted and cannot be intercepted by third parties.

The padlock icon also verifies the website as ‘real’; it is possible for non-secure sites to appear genuine but actually be impersonating the true site in an attempt to harvest sensitive information from visitors.

Currently, a non-secure site will display this information icon:

And if you click on it, Chrome will show you this message:

Google is now changing this setup to actively dissuade users from visiting non-SSL sites at all. A red warning message will soon appear instead of the information button, alerting any visitors that the site could be putting their security at risk:

This is bad news for sites which lack SSL certification, as their traffic will almost certainly take a hit.

Should I get SSL on my site?

The short answer is yes. Google has made it clear that sites lacking encryption will suffer in the long term. In fact, the search company first announced that HTTPS was a ranking signal way back in 2014. Since then, SEOs have theorised that a secure connection accounts for around 5% of all ranking signals.

Google also recently told webmasters: ‘Don’t wait to get started moving to HTTPS… [it] enables both the best performance the web offers and powerful new features that are too sensitive for HTTP.’

Last year, Moz estimated that 30% of the web’s top-ranking sites were on HTTPS and that number can only increase. The message is clear: migrate to HTTPS or get left behind.

However, migrating to HTTPS is not without risk. It’s best to leave site-wide URL changes to professionals like Piranha, as any mistakes can seriously harm your traffic and rankings.

How do I make my site secure?

To make your site secure, there are 4 things you need to do:

  • Get an SSL certificate.
  • Certificates are sold online by various organisations.
  • Configure your server to enable HTTPS access.
  • Inform Google of the change and re-index your site.

Once these changes are in place, your site will be secure. Then it’s just a matter of monitoring for any errors and fixing them as they arise.

Help from Piranha

Our web developers have performed dozens of migrations to HTTPS. If you don’t want red warning signs next to your site’s URL, we can help you get that enticingly green padlock instead!

To discuss the merits of HTTPS or to organise the future-proofing of your site, why not get in touch? Call us on 01772 888331 or email becreative@piranha-solutions.com today.

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