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Secure Website: Does Google Care?

Secure Website: Does Google Care?

secure website

The Importance of a Secure Website: Google’s Stance on HTTP vs. HTTPS

In today’s digital age, website security is a critical concern for users, developers, and search engines alike. As a leading internet entity, Google places a high premium on internet security and advocates for more secure websites. This article explores why Google cares about secure websites and the importance of HTTPS and provides practical advice on transitioning from HTTP to HTTPS.

1) Does Google Care If You Have a Secure Website?

Absolutely. Google has been a staunch advocate for secure web browsing. Since 2014, Google has prioritized HTTPS websites in its search ranking algorithms. This move was part of a broader strategy to encourage safer internet practices by incentivizing website owners to adopt HTTPS. Google’s commitment is clear: secure websites protect users AND enhance the credibility and performance of the Internet ecosystem.

2) Why is HTTPS Important?

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is crucial for protecting a website’s integrity and the privacy and security of its users. The protocol prevents intruders from messing with the connection between your website and your users’ browsers. HTTPS is necessary for protecting transactions like online banking and shopping, which involve sensitive personal and financial information.

Transitioning to HTTPS involves three key benefits:

  • Security: It encrypts the exchanged data, thus securing the integrity of data and protecting it against eavesdropping or manipulation.
  • Credibility: HTTPS is often confirmed by a padlock icon in the browser address bar, a visual cue that builds trust among visitors.
  • SEO Advantages: Google’s search algorithms prefer HTTPS websites, potentially boosting your site’s visibility and traffic.

3) How to Change a Website URL from HTTP to HTTPS.

Changing your website from HTTP to HTTPS is a significant step towards securing your site and users’ data. Here’s how to make the switch:

  • Purchase an SSL Certificate: Buy an SSL certificate from a reliable certificate authority (CA).
  • Install and Configure the SSL Certificate on Your Web Server: You may need the assistance of your hosting provider for this step, especially if you need to become more familiar with server configurations.
  • Update Your Website to Use HTTPS: Adjust any hard-coded HTTP URLs to HTTPS in your website’s code or database, including links, references to scripts, images, and other elements.
  • Set Up 301 Redirects. These redirects tell browsers and search engines that your site’s addresses have permanently moved from HTTP to HTTPS, helping preserve your search engine rankings.
  • Ask Your Webmaster or Hosting Provider. Your webmaster or website host can implement HTTPS for you. An SSL certificate may even be free from your host.

4) How to Get a Free SSL Certificate?

There are several ways to obtain a free SSL certificate, which are ideal for individuals or small businesses looking to secure their websites affordably:

  • Let’s Encrypt: This free, automated, and open certificate authority provides a straightforward way to obtain and install SSL certificates.
  • Cloudflare: Offers a basic free plan that includes a free SSL certificate and performance benefits.
  • SSL For Free: Uses Let’s Encrypt to provide free SSL certificates through a simple web interface.

5) How to Check Whether Your Website Uses HTTP or HTTPS?

Determining whether your website uses HTTP or HTTPS is straightforward:

  • Look at the URL in the Browser: Check the address bar in your browser. HTTPS websites will have a URL that starts with “https://” and possibly a padlock icon next to it. For example: https://www.larrybohenwebsolutions.com/
  • Use Online Tools: Tools like SSL Labs’ SSL Test or Google’s Transparency Report can help you check if your website has a valid SSL/TLS certificate.

Google’s push for HTTPS adoption reflects a broader movement towards a safer, more secure Internet. By adopting HTTPS, website owners can protect their users, boost their search engine ranking, and enhance the credibility of their site. For anyone looking to thrive in the digital space, securing their site with HTTPS is not just recommended; it’s essential.

6) I don’t sell anything on my website. Does Google care if my site is secure with https?

Yes, Google still cares about the security of your site with HTTPS, even if you aren’t selling anything directly on your website. Here’s why:

Universal Security Standards

Google’s emphasis on HTTPS is part of a broader initiative to ensure that all data transmitted over the internet is secure, regardless of its content. The move towards HTTPS is about protecting the integrity of websites and users’ privacy as they interact with any website, whether for browsing, reading content, or making transactions.

Search Ranking Implications

Google has confirmed that HTTPS is a ranking factor in its search algorithm. This means that secure sites may have an advantage in search engine results pages (SERPs), potentially leading to better visibility regardless of the website’s nature. For any site owner who values SEO, transitioning to HTTPS could provide a competitive edge.

A Secure Website Enhances User Trust

Websites with HTTPS display a padlock icon in the address bar, indicating that the connection is secure. This visual cue enhances user trust, as visitors know their interaction with your site is encrypted and less vulnerable to interception. User trust is crucial even for informational websites, as it can influence engagement rates and the likelihood of repeat visits.

Preparing for Future Web Standards

Google has been a vocal proponent of secure browsing, and its influence can steer web standards. As more of the web transitions to HTTPS, users may expect this level of security as a baseline. Being ahead of this curve ensures your site complies with future web standards and user expectations.

Protection Against Content Manipulation

HTTPS encrypts data in transit and helps protect against attacks, such as man-in-the-middle attacks, where an attacker could inject malicious content into your website as it travels to the user’s browser. Even if your website doesn’t handle sensitive data, it’s still important to safeguard your site’s content and maintain its integrity.

Overall, Google’s push for HTTPS reflects a commitment to safer, more secure internet usage for everyone. Adopting HTTPS is becoming increasingly important, not just for eCommerce or personal data handling but for all websites seeking to improve security, enhance user trust, and perform better in search rankings.

Check out these blog articles for other ideas and tips to increase online business:

Email Larry Bohen Web Solutions LLC for a free consultation on your website needs, to ask questions about this blog post, my skills and experience as a freelance web designer, and/or explore how I may make your website work harder for you.

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Craftsbury Farmers Market
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William (Bill) Northey - Vermont Author
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