25 February 2017

Google Chrome now rewards HTTPS

Google Chrome saw a major update in January. A key feature of this update is that sites without https are marked as unsafe if they collect sensitive form data (such as passwords and credit card data). This is something many websites and shops already do. To be labelled as "unsafe" is clearly not advisable, which is why we recommend that you get your developer to set up an SSL certificate as soon as possible. Click here to read more.

What is HTTPS?

HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the name of the Internet standard that supports secure communication between your browser and web servers. To obtain this connection, you need a certificate for your website.

Visitors to your website naturally expect your site to be secure and protected when gathering sensitive, personal data. That's why Novicell recommends that all websites switch to https. However, data security isn't the only reason - browsers such as Google Chrome are also increasing their focus on HTTPS.

Why should I switch to HTTPS?

  • Your website will be more secure and you avoid displaying user data
  • You improve your Google search ranking
  • Google Shopping feeds risk being rejected if they don't run on https
  • You avoid warnings against your site in Google Chrome

However, it is not quite clear whether a switch to HTTPS would have a positive effect on your SEO ranking with Google.

Google itself has stated that their algorithm gives it a small advantage in search rankings. But this applies to less than 1% of search results. Nevertheless, Google recommends that everyone should switch so that users are secure on the Internet. They are also considering further strengthening the HTTPS signal because recent months have shown positive results with regard to search relevance and ranking. See Google's recommendations for using HTTPS.

For many, the switch to HTTPS is not just something you do. It costs money and uses resources. And as Google is constantly updating its algorithm, it's hard to predict just how big an impact it will have.

However, Novicell believes that the switch is a good investment. We're almost certain that the credibility in the SSL certificate will have more and more impact, so that search engines can deliver and prioritise the most reliable and secure results to users.

Google Shopping and Chrome 

An area where HTTPS has already had an impact is when you use Google Shopping. Here you risk Google not approving your product feed if the site doesn't contain a valid SSL certificate and thereby a secure payment platform for your users.

Google Chrome has also announced that from January 2017, it will notify users if they are trying to visit an http site. The user will be informed that the site is not 100% secure, which will undoubtedly affect the decision-making process and trust in the site.

https login

https://threatpost.com/chrome-to-label-some-http-sites-not-secure-in-2017/120452/

What do I need to know about switching?

If you decide to switch to HTTPS, there are a few things you need to know.

  • You would need to buy an SSL certificate for your website. It costs a nominal amount and requires regular renewal.
  • It would take your developer a couple of days to make the transformation.
  • It's important that the site redirects HTTP to HTTPS - otherwise you'll lose SEO value ("SEO juice").

How unsafe is HTTP?

Generally, communication over normal HTTP is not encrypted in any way. That's why such communication becomes vulnerable to what are known as "man in the middle" attacks. A classic example is a café with an open network used by several visitors. Here, all other visitors could, in principle, bug and view all unencrypted data and traffic on the network. So yes. HTTP is 100% unsafe.

With unsafe data, you potentially expose your customers' behaviour on the site. For example, if they subscribe to a newsletter on your site, their e-mail address could be compromised.

About the author

Jorge Lusar
Jorge LusarSitecore Solution ArchitectSend e-mail

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