Google’s ‘HTTPS’ Updates to Go Live July 23

Online retailers have less than three weeks to finalise any updates to their SSL certificates, as Google’s global roll-out of Chrome 68 creeps up.

On July 23, as part of the tech-giant’s sweeping updates to its Chrome browser and security settings, any site that doesn’t have an adequate SSL certificate will face ranking penalties and ‘Not Secure’ labels. Back in February, Google announced that it would be moving forward with its plans to make every website ‘secure by default’, by penalising any sites that are not properly encrypted with an SSL certificate.

This means that any site that has a web address starting in HTTP will be viewed as insecure, while Google will start favouring sites marked as HTTPS. These changes have been rolled out on some websites since the company’s February announcement, but July 23 will mark the official changeover date.

SSL certificates
Google will begin penalising sites without an SSL certificate on July 23.

In the past, users could check a website’s security level by looking for a small padlock next to the web address in the top left of their browser. Now, Google is making a site’s security levels more visible to users, in light of rising internet security threats and data breaches.

Research has shown that 87 percent of consumers will not complete a transaction if their web browser indicates a site might not be secure, making this update a vital one for retailers selling goods and services online. While it is worth noting that even sites with SSL certificates still have vulnerabilities, they are widely accepted to be more secure than their counterparts, as key data like payment information is better encrypted and not as easily accessible.

July has been a big month for Google, as it also recently rolled out its mobile speed update, which was announced in January. In a blog post, the company said mobile search speed would become a bigger ranking factor, but would only impact the poorest performing sites.

“The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content,” the company wrote.

This mobile speed update will reportedly only impact mobile searches, as Google claims desktop ranking signals will remain unchanged by the update.

Google Chrome is the first browser to deploy a widespread security warning for users accessing third party websites, but Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla are expected to follow suit.

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