Fire up your browser (preferably Google Chrome for reasons which will become clear) and look at the address bar. Does your website address start with http:// ?

If it does, read on.

If it starts with https:// you’re good to go, but you’ll still benefit from reading about the background to this change, so still read on…

If you think this doesn’t apply to you because your website doesn’t process any personal information or perform any financial transactions, you couldn’t be more wrong.

From Monday 23rd July 2018 Google Chrome will start to show a warning to users making them aware that your website doesn’t have a current SSL Certificate – so if your website address starts with http:// you don’t have an SSL Certificate, and you need to get one asap.

Thankfully it’s pretty straightforward to do – contact your web developer for advice, if they haven’t contacted you about it already.

If you created your own website, check your web developer platform to find out how to enable an SSL Certificate. If your website is fairly new, then it’s probably secure by default, but it’s best to check, and to make sure the SSL Certificate is enabled for your site, or Google will penalise it in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).

All online communication should be secure always – and by default – Google

What is HTTPS?

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure protocol through which your browser communicates with sites.

When using HTTP sites, any data that is transferred can potentially be accessed or manipulated by attackers. However, when using HTTPS sites, data is encrypted and authenticated which means it’s secure, and we all want to be reassured that all our browsing is secure. Making sure your site users have a great experience helps ensure they come back for more. They’ll be more comfortable making purchases and sharing their personal information online if they’re visiting a secure site.

What is an SSL Certificate?

A Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL certificate, allows your site visitors to view your site over a secure (HTTPS) connection. It secures the connection between your browser and the site you’re visiting.

As arguably the biggest and most widely used search engine, Google take security very seriously, and if you don’t have a secure site you won’t be surprised to hear that it will affect your search engine ranking – Google will prioritise sites that have an SSL Certificate installed.

One more thing – while we’re on the important subject of search engine ranking, check that your website is able to be viewed on mobile devices. Most new websites are mobile responsive but some aren’t – and again you’ll be penalised in search results for not having a mobile friendly site. Google provides a handy online checker to help if you’re not sure.