Chrome Begins Marking HTTP Local Websites As “Not Secure” Today

The engine under of the hood of the internet is changing. Websites have steadily migrated from HTTP to HTTPS. There are numerous benefits for this switch, which we’ll cover in this article. In addition to the benefits, there is now a factor of negative reinforcement to get websites to switch over to HTTPS. Google’s Chrome browser has begun marking HTTP websites as “Not Secure”. CNET has provided commentary on this new change and what it means for you. There are four factors you need to take into consideration. They are:

  • Security of a website
  • Trust of website visitors
  • Search results ranking
  • The internet to moving towards encryption

Securing Your Website

Stephen Shankland of CNET writes “The Hypertext Transfer Protocol lets your web browser fetch a web page from the server that hosts it. HTTP has had a good run, but it has a problem: It doesn’t protect communications with encryption that blocks eavesdropping and tampering.” One of the most important things about HTTPS is that it encrypts data sent to and from a website. The “S” in HTTPS adds “Secure” at the end of the phrase.

Does your website take credit card or other sensitive information? Hackers are able to view this information easier on websites that aren’t encrypted. They use tools like Wireshark to collect and read web traffic. Encrypting this data makes it harder for hackers to exploit the information. Hackers can do more than read HTTP traffic.

They can insert ads, inject invisible software, and redirect people to fake websites when unsuspecting visitors come to your website. The last thing you want is for potential clients or customers to be bounced from your site to some other website. You’ll lose them completely!

Earn the Trust of Your Visitors

When people go to a website which says “Not Secure”, they probably won’t want to enter their credit card information. Granted, these websites may request credit card information be given on a secure website like PayPal; however, the first impression of lack of security is definitely a put-off.

Most major websites have already migrated over to HTTPS. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are among these websites. ESPN, however, has not encrypted their website yet, for whatever reason. If you visit their website, you’ll see the “Not Secure” warning to the left of the URL bar. See the screenshot below.

Rank Higher by Using HTTPS

Google has been using HTTPS as a ranking signal for years. In 2014, the Google Webmaster Central Blog detailed why they began using it as a ranking signal. They wrote how Google has always been concerned about internet security, especially since they run Gmail and Google Drive. They also want to see a safer internet as a whole.

They write “For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. 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 such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

We here at Gain Local exist to help you rank higher in local search results. For that reason, one of the many things we recommend you do is migrate your website to HTTPS, if you haven’t already. We base this off Google’s explanation above which plainly details HTTPS is used as a ranking signal. You only have to implement this technical SEO technique once.

The Trend is Moving Towards Encryption

The past 4 years have shown a steady increase in websites migrating to HTTPS. In 2014, roughly 30% of all websites loaded by Firefox were encrypted with HTTPS. As of July 2018, nearly 70% of these websites now use HTTPS. The number of websites using HTTPS more than doubled in only 4 years! This is visualized in the graph below.

As you can see, there’s a diagonal line that has been steadily moving upwards since 2014. Stephen Shankland writes “HTTPS is steadily spreading, though. The Let’s Encrypt effort issues more than 600,000 HTTPS certificates per day, and more than 73 percent of website connections made with Firefox are secure today.” Let’s Encrypt has a great advantage in the world of HTTPS encryption: It’s free!

Make sure you adopt HTTPS encryption for your website. You’ll rank higher in local search results, secure your website, and gain the trust of your website visitors. We can help you secure your website. Contact us today to learn more.

Featured photo by Pixabay on Pexels

ESPN photo is a screenshot by Gain Local