Google has put webmasters through a lot of changes over the last decade or so. First came the Panda and Penguin algorithms, which did massive damage to sites that had used ‘Black Hat’ SEO techniques. Then came the ‘mobile first’ index, which penalised pages that didn’t support mobile browsers, even if the search in question was being performed on a desktop.
Now comes Google’s SSL requirement. Put simply, sites that don’t offer a secure connection to their users will be downranked in Google’s search results. If you’ve never thought about SSL before, this could seem like a total headache. This guide will take you through the things you’ll want to consider to ensure you pass Google’s new test with flying colours.
Get an SSL certificate
You’ll want to be sure that you obtain an SSL certificate from a well recognised and trustworthy provider. Once you’ve obtained the certificate, you may need a little technical help from an expert or an SEO agency to set it up on your website. As well as the implementation, you’ll also want to consider some of the additional technical factors we mention below.
It’s not just the page
Unfortunately, securing your website isn’t just a case of buying and setting up an SSL certificate. You’ll also have to make sure that all of your assets are hosted on secure servers. This means that all images, fonts and other resources that are loaded as part of your website must be secure. Even if they are hosted on the same server, you may need to take a little time to go through your source code and change http to https to ensure that everything is loaded securely.
To make sure that everything has worked as you expected, load the page in your browser and look in the address bar. If you see a padlock, then everything is working correctly and your page will be good in the eyes of Google. If not, you may need to have another look at your code and make sure that you have made all the changes required. Time is ticking down, Google will start penalising sites that don’t meet its new requirements later this year, so now is the time to ask an SEO expert if you’re not sure.