Get green on Google by making your site secure

From James Cashion-Lozell, cloudthree

Google have changed the rules. They did it rather subtly and over time but, with Google Chrome’s upcoming update, if your site doesn’t have SSL it will be anything but subtle. The upcoming changes propose to mark any insecure site with a red warning icon and the words “Not Secure”. This will no doubt leave potential visitors to your site slightly concerned, and result in much lower conversion rates.

The first question we’re getting from people at the moment is what is an SSL certificate, followed pretty quickly with why is Google making this change? One question at a time people!


What is an SSL certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and, while it sounds pretty technical, what it boils down to is that it’s a way of ensuring all the data passed between the web browser on your computer and the web server remains private and secure. Most people already know that when they’re on their internet banking or shopping online to look for the little green lock on the address bar, this is a sign that the site uses SSL.


Why is Google making this change?

To make the internet a safer place, of course! Google have been pushing websites to be secured via SSL since 2014, and have been ranking sites accordingly in response to their security status. Currently Google Chrome (the browser with the largest market share) displays sites not using SSL as neutral but, in an effort to protect users in upcoming updates, all sites not using SSL will be displayed much more negatively. The red marker and text “Not Secure” is meant to discourage users from putting any personal information in on these insecure sites.


So whether your site is an ecommerce store or you just have a contact form on your website, if you want users to trust you, then you need an SSL certificate. Which brings people to the all important questions of; where do I get one, and how much is it going to cost me?

SSL certificates can be a little bit tricky when it comes to configuration and installation but your web developer or website host should be able to help you through the process with ease. Cost is a little bit harder to answer, there are different levels of certificates which provide different benefits, for most small-medium businesses though, the cost can be as small as $5 a month.

The rollout isn’t happening straight away so it’s not something that needs to be rushed, but over the coming months this definitely needs to be one of the top priorities for your website.