I’m sure you’ve heard the letters SSL thrown around recently - probably in sales emails from your website hosting provider. Until recently, the main selling point of a Secure Security Layer (SSL) certificate was that it is a measure put in place to prevent the interception of data as it travelled between servers. This was especially important for ecommerce sites where sensitive credit card info flies back and forth on a regular basis.
This has been in the works for awhile and this gradual security update has been rolled out in phases since January 2017. Early this year Google announced that, effective July 2018 (heads up - that’s now), the Chrome browser would start marking sites without SSL encryption as not secure.
Currently, users can tell if a site isn’t secure - the little padlock is noticeably absent from the URL bar and instead there's a lower case i with a circle around it. But with the new Google update that little i will read Not Secure - really drives the insecurity home. It’s important to note also, as of June 2018, Chrome made up 62.85% of desktop browsers and 54.98% of mobile browsers - 58.94% of browsers across all platforms (source - https://www.netmarketshare.com/). Those are some solid numbers, and that's a decent amount of your traffic that could be turned off by the reminder that your site isn’t secure.
It is important to note, just because the server your website is hosted on has security measure in place it doesn’t mean your site and it’s data is safe. It’s the equivalent of going to an event and relying on the security at the gate instead of having your own personal bouncer to accompany you everywhere.
But wait, there’s more…
In true Google fashion, they reward you for doing what they want you to do by a giving your site a crispy little rankings boost. Who doesn’t love a good rankings boost.
This is another move toward Google's ultimate goal of fostering a safe, secure internet for everyone (which is a good thing!).