SSL is Now Required
Now is the time. No more waiting until next month, or next year. SSL MUST happen for your website to continue to appear in Google search results. SSL is now required if you want links to your website to be able to appear in emails, to anyone. Google is laying down the hammer. Here’s what we learned, and why you need to get on the SSL bandwagon right now.
What is SSL?
Google explains it best.
What’s SSL? It stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it’s a cryptographic protocol designed to provide communication security over the internet. It guarantees privacy, via encryption and integrity, to prevent snooping or tampering with your internet connection. -Google
Google Won’t Send Your Email with a non-SSL Link
Google’s spam security filter will now flag and block emails with links in the text to non-secured sites. So, for example, if you send a friend an email that says “Hey Joe, check out my new website at http://www.mywebsite.com.”, Google will now block the ENTIRE email from going through. Instead of being sent, the sender will get a message like this:
Here is Google support verifying that emails WILL BE BLOCKED if they contain links to non-secured (not SSL) sites:
How do you know if your site is SSL?
If your site is SSL, it uses a URL starting with “https”. If it is NOT SSL, the URL starts with “http” (no “s” at the end). That little S makes a big difference!
Test your website in your browser to see if it’s secured (SSL). Visit your website in a new tab of your browser. Look at the address bar. If there is a gray lock next to the website address, you have a secure site! Nice work! Below are examples of how a secured vs. non-secured site looks in some of the most popular browsers.
Why Listen To Me?
Lauren L Perfors, President
Why listen to me? I have been helping small businesses grow through online marketing since before SEO was a commonly known word in digital marketing. I ran successful digital marketing and SEO campaigns for small, medium, and large companies for over 10 years. Today, I am passionate about developing and maintaining sales-focused, easy-to-use, and mobile-friendly small business websites.
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SECURED, Chrome Browser
NOT SECURED, Chrome Browser
SECURED, Firefox Browser
NOT SECURED, Firefox Browser
Big Reasons Your Small Business Website Needs SSL
Not letting your emails go through is a HUGE standalone reason to upgrade your website to SSL. However, there are other huge reasons why upgrading will impact your small business:
1. Sending and receiving information.
Does your website have a contact form? A search bar? Then you need SSL. SSL ensures that information captured on your website is sent from your browser to the server over a secure, encrypted connection. A contact form almost always contains personal contact information such as a name, address and phone number. Do you really want to have to tell your new lead that their information was compromised when they used your contact form? Nope. You don’t. That’s not going to help you close a deal.
According to Google, “You should always protect all of your websites with HTTPS, even if they don’t handle sensitive communications.”
2. Google is about to drop your site from search results, or already has.
Google has openly stated that they now give search results preference to secured sites. If you’re doing online search battles with local competitors, and their sites are SSL, you’re now behind. Google will place you below them in search results, if you appear at all. Time to catch up.
Ever considered running ads on Google? Google will not run your ad if it goes to a non-secured site.
4. Analytics is stripping marketing info you need.
…and you’ll never get it back. Do you use Google Analytics to track your website visitors? All of our clients do! If so, you are not receiving referrer data. In plain English, that means you won’t be able to see which other websites are sending visitors to yours. So if you pay for a YellowPages listing, or are trying Facebook marketing, you won’t know if your money and time is sending traffic to your website, because Google is stripping it out of your Analytics. That makes it really hard to know where to spend your marketing dollars, because you have no idea what is and isn’t working.
5. Google is going to public-shame you.
Google is now issuing a warning to ALL website visitors who go to your site using the most popular browser on the web (which they happen to own): Google Chrome. Google started flagging all websites that were not secured mid-year 2018. Other browsers are now falling in line, showing a lock to discern whether a site is secured or not.
Overall, Google has made it crystal clear that they will no longer tolerate non-secured websites. Get SSL or give up on your website being useful to drive leads or enhance your reputation online.
Ready to Upgrade?
Where is the good news? HERE! Upgrading your website to SSL is easier and more affordable than ever before. In fact, with Lawton Digital, hosting your secured website and maintaining your SSL certificate is FREE with our enhanced and beast mode plans. On our basic plan, we will just add a small fee to get you taken care of.
Installing SSL on your WordPress website is quick, and we can take care of it for you. All you have to do is ask. Get in touch with us to upgrade your small business WordPress website to SSL now.
By Lauren Lawton Perfors
Digital marketing expert who codes. President of lawton.digital, building mobile-friendly, search engine optimized websites for growing small businesses. 10+ years website SEO consultant. Navigating a farmhouse fixer-upper, energized by mountains and gin martinis, aspiring trail runner.
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