In the not too recent past, Google recommended that your site needed to be secure if it was transactional or if it stored customer details in any way.
However, this has all changed. Google now recommends that all sites are secure as it continues to move towards its long-term goal of an all secure web. Furthermore, as part of the Chrome 56 update that began in January 2017, any site that collects any type of data and isn’t secure will alert the customer to this fact. If your site is not secure, you face the possibility of losing your customer at the first hurdle.
Is there a benefit to SEO?
We are strong advocates of site security both from a consumer trust perspective and from a search perspective. We have also found that the process of making a site secure has given the site a small rankings boost. Of course, this isn’t the only influencing factor and it’s not going to move any mountains, but it’s another ranking factor that shouldn’t be ignored.
How do you make your site secure?
The best way to make your site secure is to buy an SSL certificate from your hosting company, install it on your server and switch all URL’s and resources to be secure. This costs from £50 per year upwards depending on the type of certificate you buy and needs to be renewed on a yearly basis.
However, another way we have found to work well is to make use of Cloudlflare’s free package. Cloudflares encryption service effectively secures your site and is completely free with no renewal costs. It also has the added advantage of making use of their content delivery network which will help with site speed too.
What are the risks?
Moving your site from non-secure to secure is effectively the same as moving domain. Therefore it has to be planned and executed with the same caution as moving to a new domain.
- The most important of these stages is placing 301 redirects on every URL to convert them from http to https. This also applies to all media and content on your domain.
- It’s also important to ensure that any disavow files that have been applied to the non-secure site are downloaded and re-uploaded to the new domain in Google Search Console, sitemaps are resubmitted and robots.txt updated
As long as this is done effectively, there should be no risk to current rankings but as with all big changes, fluctuations may be seen so we strongly advise close monitoring to ensure the migration has been successful.
Out of the many sites we have moved, we have only seen long term progress and we strongly recommend that you take the plunge asap!
If you require assistance to make the move or require further information, please get in contact now.