Wake-Up Call: It’s Time to Secure Your Website With HTTPS

HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, is a method that websites and web browsers use to send data between them securely. Information sent with this protocol is encrypted and (near) impossible to intercept.

Have you held off on securing your website with HTTPS security encryption? Google has just issued a wake-up call. The search engine giant now recommends using this technology to provide a safer browsing experience for users.

Now’s the best time to implement HTTPS on your website, and there are many reasons in favor of why you need to do it.

Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

Google considers having HTTPS on your site as part of its ranking factors. When your organization is trying to execute a search engine optimization strategy to improve your position, you want to take every opportunity to boost your chances of staying in Google’s good graces.

While this change won’t catapult you from last to first in the rankings, it can help you get the extra edge you need to beat out a close competitor or get through a plateau. Search engine optimization is a difficult challenge already. You don’t want to leave roadblocks in place if you can avoid it.

Getting Rid of the “Not Secure” Marker

Your visitors have countless websites they can visit, so it’s important to make a good first impression. They only take a few seconds when they evaluate your site to determine whether they want to stick around or not. In the Chrome internet browser, sites without HTTPS security encryption have an indicator that they’re not secure.

Any site is going to run into a negative impact with a statement like that, but you’re going to have even more trouble when you’re an e-commerce brand or a retailer with an online store. You’re asking people to give you their sensitive credit card information and trust that you’ll deliver the products or services sold. They won’t have much confidence in your promises when you have that unsecured label up top every time someone visits your site.

Visitors Will Come to Expect HTTPS

Many organizations will act quickly on Google’s recommendation. More websites will come with HTTPS standardized, rather than it being a technology reserved for banks and parts of sites dealing with payment processing.

The experience your visitors have on other websites will set their expectations when they reach your site. If they don’t see the expected HTTPS indicated, they’re going to wonder why you haven’t implemented it yet. When you’re in a market where customer loyalty is difficult to gain, adding HTTPS helps you operate on equal footing with others going after the same audience.

Steadily Increasing Cybercrime Trends

Big data has empowered organizations by expanding their capabilities in collecting, processing, analyzing and acting on the data they have. However, this environment is also target-rich for cybercriminals seeking to get their hands on valuable information. Social security numbers, credit card information, trade secrets and information for social engineering tactics all represent an expensive haul for these hackers.

The damage created by cybercrime is predicted to reach over $6 trillion by 2021, according to CSO. New exploits, sophisticated social engineering techniques, and other threats are dangerous for any size organization. The rapid pace of technology leaves many companies behind due to a lack of resources to keep up with maintenance, operating system and software updates, and other preventative measures.

Hackers often seek the lowest hanging fruit so they can maximize their returns from their efforts. When you put HTTPS in place on your website, you’re providing an outward sign that you’re more tech-forward than other companies in your industry. While you need a robust cybersecurity strategy to keep determined hackers away from your valuable data, this step gives you some breathing room from the overall quantity.

Access to the AMP Feature

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page feature, which offers mobile visitors a quick-access, simplified version of the webpage, requires HTTPS. You won’t have access to this powerful feature for reaching mobile audiences if you only have an HTTP version of your site available. Some companies put together responsive or mobile-optimized sites but skip this step, not realizing that users may only want to engage with their content through the simplified interface that AMP offers.

When more and more people use tablets and smartphones as their primary internet browsing devices, you’re leaving money on the table if you don’t cater to their needs. They won’t always want to load a full, data-heavy version of your page when they want to read an article or two. AMP gives them an expected user experience that’s consistent every time.

Implementing HTTPS for your website means getting a boost to your cyber security, search engine optimization, mobile audience numbers and customer trust.

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