You’ve been warned! Google HTTPS crackdown begins

We knew that Google was going to start forcing site owners to switch to HTTPS, and this past week saw the first clues of how this is going to work. In the past few days Google started sending out warning messages from Google Search Console to website owners. The warning states that if your site isn’t served over HTTPS, it would begin to be marked as “Not Secure”. As of right now, Google has set a goal of working toward every page that asks for credit card information or passwords, but eventually they’ll include every page online.

This is part of the HTTPS warning process we’ve been talking about since before Christmas last year. Apparently it hasn’t rolled out quite yet, and Google is giving website owners one more chance to get their pages in line. The reason this is happening is that there are still a lot of sites around that aren’t yet secure. I did a quick search just for sites in Australia with the term “login” and found a lot of major sites still unsecured, including for airlines and media companies and a wide variety of e-commerce sites.

Google is pushing pretty hard on this switch, and it’s going to start affecting your site sooner rather than later. They claim it won’t affect your rankings right away, but my thinking is that it will. After all, if a reader logs onto your site and sees that it’s not secure, they are less likely to stay around and shop, not when they can find dozens of competitors with more secure pages. What Google hasn’t said before is that you should prepare all your pages, not just those with passwords and credit card information. Yes, it’s a pain to do and not as easy as Google says, but it will pay off in traffic in the months to come.

This article was originally published on stewartmedia.com.au

Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.

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