Have you upgraded your website to https yet? If you’re unfamiliar with what that means, look in your browser. Notice the website address and the lock icon to the left of it. In the Chrome browser, you’ll see a green lock with the word “Secure” next to it.

Https in front of your website doesn’t mean your site is secure unless you see the lock icon next to it. If your website is secured with SSL, Secure Sockets Layer, then it’s encrypting the connection between web servers and a user’s web browser. SSL has always been crucial for e-commerce websites, as credit card transactions necessitate encryption. However, over the past year https has risen dramatically in popularity among strictly informational websites. Why? A huge reason is that having a secure website is likely viewed by Google as a positive ranking factor. This was more of a guesstimation than a fact.

A few months ago, Moz reported that half of page 1 search results were https websites. It’s safe to say that this number will only rise. That’s because more web owners are becoming aware of the fact that securing your website could improve your organic rankings. Furthermore, many website hosting providers make it incredibly simple to secure your website, including offering SSL certificate needed for free.

None of this is really news though. What is news is that Google Webmaster Tools recently started sending notices stating that in October the Chrome browser will show security warnings if your website is not secured with SSL. This is a huge shift. We’ve gone from having a secured site with https as a positive ranking factor to not having a secured site with https being a a hue detriment to visitors. I think it’s safe to expand on that last statement and assume that having a non-secure site will soon be a negative ranking factor.

So what do you do if your website isn’t secure? First, check with your hosting provider to see what it would take to install SSL. If they can’t do this easily then you really need to look for another provider. If you’re on WordPress, I recommend WPEngine.com. You can encrypt your website with literally two clicks within their interface. In some cases though, your site might show as https, but there might be a few images or components that make a specific page insecure. In those instances, it helps to have a developer to clean those pages up.

Do you have any questions about https, SSL, or ranking factors? Feel free to drop us a line here or give us a call at 877-673-7096 x2.