When Google weeds their garden of search engine results, only the secure sites remain. Do you know if your site is secure?
Before we go further, its important to understand what kind of security is important to Google. It’s not about how secure your passwords are, though that is important too. It’s about how your site communicates with your audience. To describe it with one word, it’s really about “Encryption!”
No one would use online banking if they thought others could see their account information and transactions. Who would shop online with their credit card if they had to worry about identity theft every time they made a purchase? The way to keep your information safe, is by using encryption to make it unreadable to those without the proper credentials.
This is why Google announced in December of 2015 the prioritization of securely encrypted websites using the https protocol over those that didn’t in their search engine results. This was huge news back then because Google as a rule, does not tell you how their search algorithm works when it comes to ranking a page.
What this means is if your site is not using the secure https protocol, your site is at the bottom of their search engine results under those that do, which is just the opposite of where you want to be.
Before this, the standard was to turn encryption on only as needed for things like banking and shopping, where financial transactions were being made or sensitive information like medical records were being transmitted. Making everything securely encrypted is now the current standard and it can be glaringly obvious and sometimes scary for an audience when they land on a site that is not secure.
How can you tell if your site is secure? Easy! Open your website in your favorite web browser. If it’s secure, you’ll see a familiar lock icon near the top indicating a securely encrypted connection. Some web browsers even color code this with green for secure and red for at risk.
Making the site secure is not a difficult task, but a web developer needs to change some code on the back end so the server uses the different protocol. They also need to go through the entire site looking at each page for non-secure links to things like images, making sure they all use the proper encryption protocols.
If you want to be in the race, don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you get started. Make sure your site is using the secure https protocols to ensure you have a fighting chance of being seen by your audience.