Let’s face it, it’s pretty much Google’s world. Google so dominates the online world, that when Google says you should do something, it’s a pretty good idea to do it. That is if you care about how your website appears in the some 3.5 billion searches that are conducted on the site each and every day. That’s 40,000 searches every second to those of you counting at home.
Google has a number of ‘suggestions’ it wants us all to pay attention to. We have spoken previously about having a mobile friendly website and will speak more of it again soon. We have spoken about website speed and will again. We have spoken about SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates and will again today.
SSL is the standard security technology that establishes an encrypted link between your browser and the website you are surfing. In the past, it would be something you would have only seen if you were doing e-commerce. You know, the little green lock that appears next to the web address? That’s the symbol that the website is using an SSL. You will also see the HTTP protocol at the beginning of the website address replaced with HTTPS.
With an emphasis on secure communications over the last couple of years, Google has decided that all websites should employ an SSL certificate. Last year they stated that an SSL certificate would of the signals that are considered when ranking websites. It was their way of suggesting everyone implement SSL. On the Chrome browser, which is the dominant desktop browser, with a close to 50% market share, they have been showing the word Secure whenever an SSL is employed on a website
High-end SSL certificates can cost hundreds of dollars a year. Most SSL certificates available through major web hosting plans usually cost just under $100 a year. That was until Let’s Encrypt came along in the spring of 2016. Let’s Encrypt offers a free, automated, and open SSL certificate. In just over a year, they have issued over 100 million certificates.
Google is stepping up the SSL shaming starting in October with reportedly two initiatives. The first is they will show the word Not Secure where today only Secure (with an SSL) is shown. They will also show a warning if you are filling out a form (such as an appointment request) on a website without an SSL. This is, of course, Google’s way of getting most of us to add an SSL certificate.
Currently, less than 60% of all websites have an SSL. Does your website? Go online and look. If it doesn’t, contact the person in charge of your website or your web host and ask how you can get one before October.