If you’re responsible for your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts, then you’ll already know that Google is on a mission to make the web a more secure place. In 2014, the search engine giant announced that it would give websites that are served through SSL a slight ranking boost – in other words, a chance to get ahead of their competitors.

Google has, this week, confirmed plans to take its mission one step further. From October 2017, any website that asks users to input data, such as a password form or a search field, will be labelled as ‘Not secure’ unless the content is delivered over a secure HTTPS protocol.

Late last year, Google announced through its Search Console that all websites with logins must be delivered through HTTPS to avoid being labelled as insecure, and now the practice will be coming to Chrome web browsers around the globe. Simply put, if your website doesn’t deliver its content through HTTPS and an SSL certificate, you could risk being labelled insecure – and this could put customers off from spending time on your site.

Why HTTPS and SSL?

Google’s mission to make the internet a more secure place isn’t for vanity, but because it wants to protect users from malicious content on the internet. Without enabling HTTPS, intruders can exploit the unprotected resources between your website and your users, stealing personal information and damaging your brand in the process. SSL certificates ensure information such as passwords, card details and telephone numbers are delivered over a secure network that cannot be read by hackers.

How to protect against the ‘Not secure’ warnings

Luckily, Google’s announcement still gives you a few months to make the necessary changes if you want to avoid being penalised. And making your website more secure isn’t as difficult as it sounds. You simply need to purchase an SSL certificate from the internet and have your webmaster install it. In a bid to have all websites SSL-enabled, some non-profit groups have begun offering certificates for free, so you don’t even need to spend a penny. Visit the Let’s Encrypt website to find out more about how you can get a free certificate.

Delivering your content through HTTPS is only one step you need to take if you want to improve your website’s search engine optimisation. Click here to find out more about the SEO services offered by Jumping Spider Media.