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November 17, 2017

Google Changes Will Impact Millions of Small Business Websites

Published: 17 November 2017 

Beginning October 24th, Google is making a significant change that will see the majority of small business websites affected. From this date, the digital giants are flagging all sites without an SSL Certificate as “not secure” when a user interacts with a form on the page. If you operate a small business, there is a good chance that this will have an impact on your website and spring a lot of questions and doubts about website visitors.


What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates are small files that keep cryptographic keys of a business or organisation’s identifiable details. It creates secure connections between the web server and to the browser being used. It is commonly used for websites that might require a log-in, data transfers, credit card transactions and more recently, social media browsing. SSL will encrypt all user inputted details in an attempt to have them safely delivered to the server and is essential for protecting information from hackers and identity thieves. When you come across a website with a valid SSL Certificate, you will see a padlock in the browser.

Do I need an SSL certificate?

Yes, and Google thinks so too! All websites that require the user to put in some type of data should have an SSL Certificate. This is especially true for any sites taking credit card transactions. In this case, an SSL Certificate is an absolute must according to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. By being able to encrypt and protect user data from potential hackers and identity theft, you create a sense of trust with your visitors.


How Google is taking a stand

Google will now flag up any page that does not have an SSL Certificate when a user goes to input information into any type of form. They warned site owners by sending out notices earlier this month who have not switched from HTTP to HTTPS. These warnings said that any page that did not switch by October 24th would be marked as “NOT SECURE.” Even if a user enters a website under “incognito” mode, the same message will flash up in Chrome.

This means that HTTP websites with forms with text inputs will be more difficult to find in Google searches. This change mainly focused on text input of credit card details and passwords, but it will now have an effect on those sites with search engine bars, contact forms, and login panels.

Google is making these changes to help warn website owners and visitors of the vulnerability of the web and hopes it will encourage the switch to HTTPS.


What websites will be affected by this?

A Google report last year showed that 79 out of 100 of the top non-Google websites did not use HTTPS by default, even though it is considered a fundamental security feature and a must-have. That means millions of other sites, especially those belonging to a small business, that do not have the SSL Certificate. This is usually only down to not bothering with the extra effort, as implementing an SSL Certificate is seen as just making things more complicated.

Don’t get caught out and lose potential customers! Get your SSL Certificate in place, so your visitors know their information is kept safe, giving a good sense of security and building trust with your brand. Matter Solutions are here to help sort your SSL Certificate needs. If you’re unsure where to start getting that SSL Certificate or have any questions about your site, call one of our experts today, and we will get your site safe and trusted by visitors.

Ben Maden

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