This year Google have announced changes to the way that they index which could greatly affect how your website appears in search results.
We blogged in 2015 about Google’s change to prioritise mobile-ready websites, and now the search engine is moving to favour secure websites in their search rankings. This move sees Google looking to reduce the number of websites being hacked, to try and make using the web a much safer experience.
Google have previously claimed that currently only 10% of the web is secure, and this is the first major step in their attempt to create a safer web environment.
So what does this mean for you and your website?
Well, it means that unless your website is secured with SSL technology then you could potentially fall down and lose valuable places in Google’s rankings. Critically this means that it will be more difficult for customers to find you.
Google regularly crawl websites to determine it’s search results, tracking your website information and keywords. However, with the new move in 2016 these crawls will look for whether or not your website has a valid SSL certificate added to it.
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer, which encrypts visitor information and prevents hackers from intercepting and misusing data, such as credit card information.
As Google increases it’s focus on securing the web then any website will want to move fast to become secure and not lose essential search result places.
How can I tell if my website is secured?
The easiest way to identify if your website is secure is by looking to see if there is a green padlock icon in the address bar next to your website address. The green padlock indicates that your website has an SSL certificate installed, meaning that it’s safe for visitors. This will be accompanied with a green “https://”, indicating a secure connection.
Does my website really need to be secure?
In short, yes. Other than helping to increase your Google rankings, an SSL certificate is a crucial feature to include on your website.
If your website has any kind of contact form and you’re handling a visitor’s information, then an SSL certificate will ensure that these details remain safe and secure. If you’re selling products through your website, then you definitely need to have a secure website. After all you’re asking visitors to give sensitive payment information and this will need to be secure.
You’ll also need to be secure if you encourage users to sign up for an account on your website as you’ll be storing personal details.
Developments in online technology are ultimately leading to more and more hacking activity and cyber attacks.
One recent attack saw a range of BBC websites targeted. Reports on hacking across the news and media means that visitors will be less likely to trust a website asking for their information or payment details.
The green padlock icon offers a sign of trust for any user of your website as they will have seen it across larger sites that they know and trust with their payment details, such as Amazon or eBay.
Many website owners have reported a clear increase in website traffic after securing their website. Meaning that not only could you stand to increase your Google ranking but you could also see a noticeable rise in the number of visitors coming to your site.
So how do I make my website secure?
Securing your website is a fairly straight forward process and will future proof your site for the transition to a safer web. However, there are different variations of SSL certificate which your website could need, therefore this will require investigation before anything can be added to the website.
Once the relevant certificate has been determined it will need to be integrated into your website in order to prevent any problems down the line. Due to the sensitive nature of securing your website, using a dependable supplier to apply the new secure set up will be imperative.
We recognise that the impending changes from Google mean that securing your website is going to become an essential for any business with an online presence and it’s because of this that we’re introducing our new all.Securing service. This will take care of the entire process of guarding your website and making it secure, covering investigation of your current website to identify which security measures you require, purchasing of these measures and the full implementation and testing on your site.
If you’re interested in securing your website for 2016 and you’d like to find out more on how we can help, please get it touch.