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What is “HTTPS” and Why Does it Matter?

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Peter Brisette
Digital Marketing Dude



 


What I want to talk about this month is “https”. What does the “S” stand for in websites? I’m going to show you a couple things here. I’m going to bring up my browser and share my screen with you, and talk about https and something that Google is doing, and what can we do about it, and what should we do about it?

Back in September, Google published this blog post, talking about their browser, Google Chrome.

Right now, when you go to a website that doesn’t have https, which means that it’s not encrypted, and this is really important for if you have a form or a login, or you’re putting any kind of personal information on a website. What it does is encrypts that data, and helps protect it, and keep it from other people getting ahold of it through the “interwebs.” What Google is doing is going to display websites as either being secure or not secure. I’ll show you an example of what secure looks like:


We have https on the DM Dude website, and you can see here, this is what it looks like in Google Chrome. It shows up saying it is secure– it’s got the https. Now, right now, as Chrome Version 53, it just shows an “i” next to the name if it’s not secure. So here’s a website denver.org. Now this is not a site where you have to put information in, other than your email to sign up for an email list, or to do a search. So it’s not necessarily necessary to be encrypted, but you got the “i” here. When I click on this I, it shows here that this site is not secure. That can make you a little bit nervous about that.
 

Now what they’re going to, this month, so when they do the Version 56 of Chrome, which should be launched some time in January, it’s going to actually say, “Not secure,” next to that. Instead of just the “i”, it’s actually going to say, “Not secure,” but eventually, it’s going to actually show up in red, with kind of this warning sign. “Warning. Warning. Not secure. It’s not secure.” What should you do about this? All right. Here’s my take on this. Number one: Google is kind of pushing the issue with secure. Not 100% sure why they’re trying to push this.



It’s honestly, in reality, not that big of a deal. Most websites are not capturing a bunch of data, they’re just information websites; they don’t really need to be secure.  But Google is hinting at providing more search engine juice, or improving the search ranking of sites that have https. We don’t know if they’re actually doing that, or how much it will impact your search results. It’s really hard to say, but Google is definitely pushing the issue. The cost of this is maybe a couple hundred dollars a year to have it on your domain, to make it https, so if it’s not a big press for budget-wise, I would say go ahead and do it.

But when do you need to do it? Is it something, “Oh, I got to do this immediately. I got to drop everything and do this right now?” No. I would say, you don’t need to drop everything and do this right now. What we’re recommending for our clients and customers is, if we’re able to do it pretty easily right now and they’re fine with it, we’ll go ahead and upgrade them to the https.  But in general, we’re kind of watching it. Is it absolutely necessary for every single website? The fact is, no. It’s not. Google’s pushing it, but the challenge really is that people are going to get the impression that a website is not safe because of what they’re going to put in Google Chrome.

It’s really not necessarily true, but if it’s a concern for you and your website, and depending on how vital your website is to your business (which for a lot of business owners it is) then it’s kind of a simple process to get it set up and have it done, and then you won’t have to worry about it.

This is the big thing I wanted to share with you here in our Monthly Marketing Message for January. Just kind of one of the latest, greatest things that’s come upon us, and changes that Google is making, and just to make you aware of that.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions about it, and you’d like to have some input on what kind of questions you like us to answer, just put that in the comments below this video. Whether that’s on YouTube, or Facebook, or wherever you might find it.
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