Starting this month, people who visit your website using the Google Chrome browser could see a note near your web address specifying your site is "not secure" if it uses the http format rather than the https format commonly seen on e-commerce sites and most big-company sites.

"Google has been pushing webmasters to make the change to non-secure web sites a for years now --including hinting at small rankings boost to further incentivize the shift," Search Engine Land noted in a post from February. (We're writing about it now because Hanley Wood's websites are in the process of changing over.) The change will begin with the rollout of Chrome version 68.

As Google wrote in its announcement then:

Chrome’s new interface will help users understand that all HTTP sites are not secure, and continue to move the web towards a secure HTTPS web by default. HTTPS is easier and cheaper than ever before, and it unlocks both performance improvements and powerful new features that are too sensitive for HTTP.

In another Search Engine Land article, Patrick Stox quotes Google and adds his own reasons why https is preferable to unsecured http. Data sent using http is encrypted to keep it secure from eavesdroppers, it can't be modified or corrupted during transfer, and it authenticates by proving that your users communicate with the intended website. "Making the switch to https:// also helps with the loss of referral data that happens when the referral value in the header is dropped when switching from a secure website to an unsecured website. Analytics programs attribute traffic without the referral value as direct, which accounts for a large portion of what is called 'dark traffic.' "

This story was originally published in ProSales.

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