Earlier this week, it’s been reported that Google has sent out messages in Search Console to owners of websites that are on HTTP (unsecure servers). The message? The unsecure pages that have a form on there or anything that collects data will be flagged as unsecure in the latest versions of Chrome from October 2017. There is also a post on the Chromium blog here.
Eventually, the ‘not secure’ warning will appear on all HTTP web pages and not just ones that collect information.
The messages looked like this:
Why do I need to move onto a secure server?
If the above isn’t enough of an incentive, moving to HTTPS is also a small factor that can positively effect SEO. All the way back in 2014, Google stated on the Webmasters Central blog that HTTPS is counted as a ranking signal – quote:
‘We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.’
John Mueller (Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google) also stated that –
“I wouldn’t expect any visible change when you move from http to https, just from that change, for SEO reasons. The ranking effect is very small and very subtle. It’s not something where you will see a rise in rankings just for going to https.”
So whilst it’s small, every ranking is worth it if you want to be at the top of the rankings!
The other plus is that obviously your website files, server, IP and customers information will be much more secure.
Are there any risks or challenges?
The price of upgrading is usually the thing that stops people however there are also a couple of things that you need to be aware of SEO-wise.
- Ensure that all canonicals are set to https
- Redirects may need to be updated
- Internal and external links may need to be updated
- XML sitemaps need to be updated
- Lastly – Make sure your certificates don’t expire!
At Results First we highly recommend all websites upgrade to HTTP before October for the reasons stated above. If you need help or advice, please call us on 0800 878 833!