‘S’ in ‘HTTPS’ stands for ‘Secure’ and is shown when accessing a website with an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate installed. This can be seen on the left side of the address bar.
Google first introduce ‘HTTPS Everywhere’ in August 2014 and encourages the use of https protocol for all sites regardless of business nature and type, and on every page of the website. Google highly advocates ‘HTTPS Everywhere’ and has started using https as a ranking signal for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
As of April 2015, Google has started working on:
- Moving all Youtube ads to HTTPS at the end of 2014
- Making Google search engine fully encrypted
- Making all mobile, video and desktop display ads served to Google Display Network, AdMob and DoubleClick publishers encrypted by 30 June 2015
- Making buying platforms such as Adwords and DoubleClick server HTTPS encrypted display ads by 30 June 2015.
Google states “For now it’s only a very lightweight signal—affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content” in their official announcement; however, they also state “But over time, we may decide to strengthen it.”
HTTPS Everywhere Now and the Future
While Google may not have stated when ‘HTTPS everywhere’ will eventually be bolster and used as a strong ranking signal, it is good practice for digital marketers to start adopting this security protocol; not only for the future but for the present. Using ‘HTTPS everywhere’ would naturally give visitors the immediate confidence they need when visiting the sites and push for higher conversion rates. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an e-commerce site collecting confidential data or messages.
Now, as a case in point, let’s say you are a digital marketer for a press release site with tons of news feed published on the website though no pull information is collected on site, plenty of push materials are released. To ascertain the value of these news facts, using ‘HTTPS everywhere’ can signal to readers the authenticity of what you put up online.This, in turn, would translate to visitors subscribing to your site, an increase in readerships, which is the conversion needed for publications (your KPI as a marketer).
Back to SEO, ‘HTTPS Everywhere’ also prepares you for the future. As digital marketers, we know of Google’s frequent algorithm updates, Google Hummingbird, Google Panda, Google Pigeon. In time to come, the next update may include ‘HTTPS everywhere’ strengthening. With ‘HTTPS everywhere’ installed now, you will experience a first-mover advantage in site rankings, easily winning your competitors in SEO positioning.
As Malcolm X said, “the future belongs to those who prepare for it today”, likewise for ‘HTTPS Everywhere’.
Getting Ready with HTTPS Everywhere
So you’re ready and geared towards ‘HTTPS Everywhere’, where do you start?
For website owners, you’ll need to purchase an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA) and submit a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). Once received, the CA is authorized by you to carry out a series of validation proceedings such as domain validation and organization vetting. The SSL certificate will then be issued to you once the above steps are completed. There are free alternatives in the market but beware of the risk associated with free SSL certificate.
DigiCert is a CA that offers affordable high assurance SSL certificates with many self-help tools available for entry level starters, great for those who are price conscious and want to implement high assurance web security.
These are some of DigiCert tools we find useful during the setup phase:
Tool #1: CSR Generation & Installation Tool
DigiCert Certificate Utility Tool for Windows is a one-click tool that automatically generates the CSR for you and helps you get started with SSL installation on your server
Tool #2: SSL Installation Checker
After installation, you’ll need to see if the SSL certificate is correctly installed. Using DigiCert SSL Installation Diagnostics Tool can help you with that easily.
Tool #3: SSL Vulnerability Checks and Report
Once installed, you will need to fix all vulnerabilities associated with SSL/TLS by looking at the endpoints. The DigiCert Certificate Inspector Tool guides you through this process by giving you a letter grade which you can work towards to.
Tool #4: 24/7 Support & Local Support
Along the way, you may encounter some problems with installation and may require assistance. DigiCert offers 24/7 live chat and email facilities to support you anywhere and at any time of the day and partnering with Cyber Secure Asia to provide local support in Singapore.
We hope these tools and recommendations can help you get started with ‘HTTPS everywhere’ and be part of the upcoming revolutionary change in improvising search engine security. Welcome to ‘HTTPS Everywhere’!