Google has been pushing for a more secure internet for years, advocating for websites to adopt HTTPS encryption and deliver a safer browsing environment for users. Gradually Google has been alerting users to unsafe pages they might visit and promoting safer alternatives, starting in 2014 with a ranking boost granted to pages running over HTTPS. This drive towards a completely secure internet will be progressing in September 2018 with the release of Google’s latest version of its browser, Chrome 69. This iteration of the widely used browser will stop marking HTTPS websites with the green “secure”. Chrome 70 will then see any HTTP page marked with a red “not secure” in the browser address bar.
Users are becoming increasingly savvy about the use of their data and potential threats to its security. Any warning or indication that a website they are using isn’t secure could deter visitors from continuing on the site and definitely put them off submitting any personal data through forms or live chats.
In January 2017 Google showed a warning in the address bar on HTTP pages which contained a password or credit card field. In October that year the warning began appearing on HTTP pages that had any data entry fields and when users visited a HTTP page using “Incognito” mode. The latest move by Google will be a further nail in the coffin of websites that are running over HTTP.
Webmasters running a website over HTTP don’t need to panic, but they do need to act fast. Transitioning a website from HTTP to HTTPS may sound as simple as adding an SSL certificate to the site, however the implications this can have on the visibility of that website in the search results can be devastating if proper precautions aren’t taken. Incorrect canonical tags, mixed HTTP/HTTPS content and blanket catch-all redirects can all cause problems on a website that could see its keyword rankings plummet.
Thankfully, we’ve developed a comprehensive, jargon lite and easy to understand guide to migrating your website from HTTP to HTTPS that covers all the steps you need to take to ensure your HTTPS website is properly set up for the search engines and users to enjoy!