Understanding the not secure warning in Chrome

If you keep up to speed on changes in the digital marketing world then you may have heard the rumour that Google Chrome will soon be marking sites without an SSL certificate as unsecure in the search bar. The rumours are indeed true and the chance will take effect this month. Here’s the low down on Google’s plan to warn users about unsecure websites.

Data Security

Data security continues to be a growing threat to the online world. Following the NHS ransomware attack earlier this year and numerous high-profile data hacks, companies have been forced to increase their security measures as cybercrime is on the up.

It’s no surprise then that in a bid to help make the internet a safer place, Google has designed its next version of Chrome to expose websites that do not have HTTPS enabled. Chrome 62, due for release this month, will expose all  HTTP pages as ‘not secure’ in the search bar. Previously this only applied to pages that collected passwords or credit cards.

What Does the HTTP Issue Mean?

In short, if you do not have HTTPS enabled on your websites pages, you will, after the release of Chrome 62, face a red Not Secure warning in your URL bar. Regardless of whether you collect data or not, this is a negative message for page visitors to see. In an age where internet users are dubious of even the simplest of browsing tasks, the last thing you want them to see is a warning. I mean, it’s hard enough to get them to click through and engage as it is right? A warning sign is only going to put your visitors off and increase your bounce rate.

Is the HTTP Issue Bad for SEO?

In a word, yes. If trying to gain the trust of your users isn’t hard enough, HTTP only pages will trigger a poor rank signal to Google when it crawls your site. SEO experts believe HTTPS is now a major factor when looking at site credibility and which to rank first.

Additionally, bounce rate has long been a rank factor and so by increasing this, your page rank is going to be affected that way too.

What Can You Do to Avoid a Not Secure Warning?

Whether you collect sensitive data such as credit card information, or simply just contact details on an isolated contact us page, you need to ensure HTTPS is enabled to avoid this warning from being displayed on your sites pages.

To enable HTTPS pages, you need an SSL certificate. SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

In the words of business magazine Forbes, ‘The internet would be a safer place if all website traffic was encrypted and Google is trying to pressure companies into encrypting their websites with the HTTPS protocol by warning users about unencrypted sites’.

So, if you want to avoid putting off your site’s visitors and you want to avoid an SEO penalty, get yourself an SSL certificate quick. If you already have HTTPS enabled, sit back and reap the rewards.

Are you a Kent-based business looking to improve your site’s online credibility? Give our friendly team at Whitefish Marketing a call on 01303 720 288 and we’d be happy to help you.

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