Thursday, Google announced it will elevate its efforts to force websites to convert to secure HTTPS.
In July, with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will display “Not secure” when users visit HTTP websites. (For more information about HTTP vs. HTTPS websites, check out my earlier article.)
For practices that have not converted or built a new secure website by July, they will likely lose business on a couple levels:
- Google’s warning will project your website as inferior, risky and unprofessional. You may be the most trustworthy and credible practice in the market, but your website will communicate a very different message and brand. Your website bounce rate will rise and conversion rate will fall.
- There is also a good likelihood that you will see a decline in your rankings and visibility (traffic!). As early as 2014, Google indicated that HTTPS security was important and said, “we're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”
This announcement comes on the heels of its announcement that Google will incorporate website speed as part of its mobile search results in July as well.
Thus, if you haven’t already done so, you have four months to get your website in shape:
So what does all this mean in terms of your practice’s Internet marketing?
First, your practice probably needs to elevate its expectations and budget when it comes to building a high-performing website. This is particularly true for those in industries that compete heavily on the Web and in more competitive market areas.
Although there are a number of off-site factors that impact your SEO results (such as back links, local business citations, social media signals, etc.), there is an increasing emphasis on the quality of your website.
Another important take away is to focus on your end users. How they experience and engage with your website will continue to have a growing impact on your organic visibility and most important, lead generation.