Google is planning a July update to Google Chrome that may have an impact on how your website shows up online in Google’s search engine results.
Back in August of 2014, Google announced HTTPS (a secure encrypted website) as a ranking factor in their search results. Per Google’s Webmaster Blog: “we’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals…” (Google Webmaster Central Blog – August 6, 2014).
This four year old article alone is enough to show the criticality Google will place on website security, how it relates to the user experience, and how website security will effect a website’s rankings in Google search results.
Google has been moving toward making the web more secure by advocating that every website adopt what’s know as HTTPS encryption. Within the last year, Google slowly started to help visitors to websites understand that sites marked HTTP are not secure, versus those marked HTTPS (secure).
To enable HTTPS encryption on your website, you need to install an SSL Certificate. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral
Why July 2018 will be Important
Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.
The above image illustrates how starting in July 2018, a non-secure site (HTTP) will look to a visitor using Google Chrome versus a secure site (HTTPS).
What the web is like currently, before July 2018
Before July 2018, when a user visits a site that does not have an HTTPS enabled, Chrome displays an information symbol in front of the URL. Then by hovering over the symbol, a text box opens alerting the user that the site is not secure and providing additional details for users to educate themselves on web security of the website. See the picture below:
What a visitor sees before July 2018 when visiting a non-secure website.
On and after July 2018, a visitor’s experience will change. They will no longer see the information bubble in front of the URL, instead they will text in front of the URL that reads “Not secure“. If you would like to test this now on your site, open an Incognito browser in Google Chrome and enter your site’s URL.
Here’s an example of the “Not secure” warning
How will the July deadline for Google Chrome impact your Google Search Rankings?
If you already have HTTPS enabled via an SSL certificate, then you should be follow your normal SEO practices for retaining your ranking in Google’s search results. If you haven’t already enabled an SSL certificate and don’t have it planned for installation prior to July 2018, then your website might very well feel the impact in Google’s search rank.
Without HTTPS enabled, when a someone visits your website, they will notice a very prominent notification of your site being insecure. This might cause your visitor to leave your site and visiting a competitor’s site that is secure. Overall, an insecure site will display a warning to each visitor which will result in higher bounce rate, lost of ad dollars, and lost sales.
What should you do about Google’s July 2018 Chrome Update?
Making your website compliant with Google’s Chrome July 2018 update isn’t that difficult. Simply put, you need to install an SSL certificate on your website. You can do this by purchasing a SSL certificate or depending on your web host, you might be able to install a free SSL certificate. One caveat, some SSL certificates need to be renewed every 90 days and others every year or two.
At truDemand, we wanted to bring you this information as the Google Chrome July 2018 update could have an negative impact on all your marketing activities and marketing investment. Since we focus all our time and attention on maximizing the results our clients see from their sales and marketing efforts, we strive to keep our clients in the know about any thing that might negatively impact their marketing investments.
Michael Alos is VP of Marketing & Sales Solutions at truDemand.
With over 18 years experience in sales enablement, CRM, Marketing Automation, and sales & marketing strategy, Michael works hard to ensure that when your sales & marketing teams interact with a prospect or customer, each and every one of them has the skills, knowledge, and tools required to be successful.