February 27, 2018

Google Chrome and HTTPS (Secure Websites Are Here to Stay)

Over the last several years, Google has made moves to keep the internet secure. Last year, their most significant move in this direction was in October of 2017 and their release of Google Chrome version 62.

With that release, pages that exclusively contained forms that you needed to log-in for or submit credit card information would trigger a “Not Secure” warning unless your site migrated to HTTPS.

If those pages are not served on HTTPS, you will see the below page on Google Chrome:

But Google has been anything but quiet about their future plans for HTTPS. When they released their statement about version 62, they also said: “Eventually, we plan to label all HTTP pages as non-secure, and change the HTTP security indicator to the red triangle that we use for broken HTTPS.”

Google Chrome Not Secure Warning

On February 8, 2018, Google confirmed that secure websites are here to stay.

As of July 2018, along with the release of Chrome version 68, all HTTP websites will be marked as “not secure” on Google Chrome, regardless of whether or not the pages on your website ask for sensitive information.

So, what does this mean for you, your website, and your business? We have some insights and next steps for you below. But first, let’s reel it back –

What Is HTTP?

HTTP = hypertext transfer protocol

It’s the application that allows your website’s server to talk to your web browser.

A secured HTTP, denoted by HTTPS, encrypts the data passed along that connection so that it is secured.

It uses a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to encrypt data that is transferred between the user and the server. Secure websites protect users against information theft, corruption of files when they are being transferred, and attacks.

Google uses three different warnings to notate the security of a website.

Google Chrome Warnings

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Naturally, as digital marketers, we must ask ourselves, “What effect does this have on SEO, UX, Bounce Rate, etc.?” And we’ve heard similar questions from our clients.

We see this change mainly affecting two things: Rankings and Conversions.

Rankings

Google has made it known that security is a top priority of theirs. While Google has never outright said that secure websites would produce higher rankings, over the last several years, there have been indications that this may be true.

In 2015, Google stated that a website served on HTTPS would receive preference in the case of a tie between two search results. Meaning, if your website is equal to your competitors in all other aspects of SEO, but yours is secured, yours will receive a higher rank.

According to Moz, 79.1% of queries in the last 30 days showed websites served on HTTPS as a result. And we only see that trend going up.

Conversions

Users trust secure websites. It’s no surprise that if a user navigates to a page with a big red warning on it, they will click out of that page as fast as possible. This significantly affects bounce rate, click-through-rate, session duration, and, therefore, conversions.

Be Proactive – Get Ahead of the Change

Many websites have already made the move to HTTPS after the release of Google Chrome 62. Google reported on their progress in the last year:

Be proactive before June. If you’re reading this, you’re already ahead of many. Let us know how our web development team and SEO experts can help you!

Alexis Fillmer

As an Inbound Marketing Manager, Alexis oversees our incredibly talented group of marketers by empowering them to inspire, lead, and grow our clients.