The changes were announced in late 2016 and Google has kept its promise - your website now has to tick even more boxes to continue to rank well in 2017, with an SSL certificate top of the list.
But what is an SSL certificate?
Well, the certificate itself is added onto your website and allows it to communicate with visitors using encrypted, non-corruptible data as well as acting like a seal of approval that signifies your site is legitimate and secure.
Without an SSL certificate, not only will your site visitors be unprotected, chances are you'll see your rankings on Google begin to fall away too - not good.
Does my website need to have one?
Whilst adding an SSL certificate is not mandatory by any means, it should be considered absolutely crucial for any business that takes their online presence seriously, especially those that are fully reliant on online sales like e-commerce websites.
Customers will always look out for the little green padlock that appears next to your website URL which indicates all their personal data is secure if they choose to make a purchase - not having this could see them leave your unprotected site and you could miss out on sales as a result.
What does an SSL certificate actually do?
If you're after the technical details (and we know you are), an SSL certificate will have the obvious effect of changing your site URL from HTTP to HTTPS.
So what does this mean? Well, both HTTP and HTTPS are forms of language that websites and servers use to transfer information. All you really need to know about this is that the S stands for secure, so simply put HTTPS is fully protected, whereas HTTP is vulnerable to third party attacks.
Can customers see this information?
At the end of January 2017, Google released its latest update into its Chrome browser - any websites that do not have an active SSL certificate will now be displayed as 'not secure'. Consider this the first step in Google's ongoing quest to whip the internet into shape and keep users better informed on the state of the website they are viewing.
At the moment, a small grey 'i' appears next to the site URL to tell users they aren't on a secure page, but Google has said that it plans to bring in a red triangle to draw even more attention to this feature.
You'll also see rankings for sites with an SSL certificate boosted ahead of competitor sites that aren't secured, so it makes sense to invest in HTTPS and keep your site high on Google search results pages.
Does your business website have an SSL certificate? Are you protecting the personal details of all your customers? If not, our website development specialists are here to help! Contact us without delay on 01202 684400 to ensure your website is fully up to date.