In the aftermath of the many security breaches over the past few years, secure websites are more important than ever before. Now, with a new Google policy on secure sites, it’s essential for business owners to harness the power of HTTPS.
It’s safe to say that businesses that use non-secure sites are no longer in the same playing field as those that use HTTPS. Here’s everything you need to know about securing your website with HTTPS and how it can help you grow your business.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet connection that protects the information transferred between a user’s computer and a website. Sites that use HTTPS ensure that data is kept secure from eavesdroppers and cannot be modified without detection. As a result, the site builds trust not just with users, but with search engines, as well.
Why Do I Need HTTPS?
Are you expecting to receive significant search traffic to your site in the coming years? Do you collect user information of any kind on your site? Then you need HTTPS.
- If your site has HTTPS, you’ll likely rank higher in search engine results, which is imperative to drive new traffic to your site and gain new business. (We’ll explain this more in a sec.)
- If you collect user information from site visitors, even just email addresses, you need HTTPS to ensure that their info is safe from scammers—and to make users feel comfortable sharing their information with you in the first place.
Let’s get technical for a second: the key words here are encryption, integrity, and authentication.
- Encrypted data can only be read by the person with the key—and you’re the only key owner of your HTTPS site.
- Data integrity means that data shared through your site can’t be corrupted.
- Authentication prevents “man in the middle” attacks, so scammers can’t trick your customers into sharing their information with them.
If you’re looking to increase leads by gathering email addresses, or if you use forms to get information for any other purpose, an HTTPS connection will go a long way in encouraging users to trust your site and be more forthcoming with their contact information and other info.
HTTPS sites feature a nice little green lock symbol in the URL bar of Chrome and Firefox to let the user know that the site is secure. If your site is not secured, users may receive a security warning about your site, which will likely send them running from the page.
How Does It Help?
Google recently released some rare insider info about search rankings: HTTPS sites will now be prioritized in search. Plus, a new update to Google’s popular Chrome browser (which has a whopping 47% of market share) provides users with a warning if a website is not secure—in bright, eye-catching red.
In a recent HubSpot survey, 82% of respondents said that they would not browse a site that was labeled as not secure. This means that if your website is not running HTTPS, 8 out of 10 visitors will simply leave your site.
When it comes to SEO, HTTPS is now your best friend.
- HTTPS sites collect more referrer data, so you can better understand your site’s analytics, like how visitors found your site. Obviously, understanding where site traffic comes from is essential to attracting more traffic in the future.
- Now that Google is cracking down on site security, HTTPS sites are more likely to appear in Google search rankings. If you’re looking to attract traffic to your website via search, which you should be, then you need a secure site.
How Does It Hurt Me if I Don’t Have HTTPS?
Let’s review the downsides of non-HTTPS sites:
- User Mistrust: Google will label your site as “Not Secure,” which will likely lead users away from the site and discourage them from providing information to your business, which you need to get more leads.
- SERP Ranking: HTTPS sites will now receive priority in search results, so if your site is not secure, you’ll find yourself further down the page. That means fewer visitors to your site and fewer eyes on your business’ info.
- Scamming Risk: It’s one thing for a user to think that your site is unsafe, but the moment you actually experience a security breach, you’re in deep trouble. Hackers stealing the info of your users, whether it’s your email list, or sensitive information like Social Security numbers, is a guaranteed PR nightmare for your business.
What Does This Mean for my FullThrottle Site?
Because using HTTPS is such an important step in building trust with website visitors and protecting sensitive information, all FullThrottle websites have now been transferred to HTTPS.
If your website is not yet secured, we encourage you to ask your provider about HTTPS. You can also sign up for a FullThrottle website demo to learn more about how our team has enforced this standard across all our sites.
Who Can Help Me Update to HTTPS?
Transferring your entire site to HTTPS can be a complicated process with a lot of moving parts. Our Stream Tech Teams have transferred many clients to HTTPS seamlessly, and they can help update your site, too. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about using HTTPS.
To learn more about working with an ad agency, check out our eBook on the three most costly mistakes when hiring an ad agency.
_Aoife Laughlin is an inbound copywriter at FullThrottle