Google’s shown unparalleled commitment to website security. They’ve provided resources to webmasters explaining how to recognize potential security breaches and ways to address them.

Webmasters who’ve shrugged off or not understood the need for updating the security on their site need to read on. All that hard work maintaining your site over the years could get flushed down the drain by not getting ahead of Google’s upcoming changes.

Know Your Protocols

Here’s a snapshot of the important points needed to understand how websites talk to each other:

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) was the original standard used by the internet allowing web pages and other content to communicate with each other. As the use of the web has grown, so has the need for extra security methods.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol for encrypting data sent out over a network.

HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) combines HTTP with the SSL protocol to encrypt communications over the internet. HTTPS adds extra protection to data entered or sent by users to prevent it from being hijacked by people looking to exploit that information.

Google’s primary concern is the authentication, data integrity, and encryption of data and communication coming from your site. This includes credit card information, social security numbers, and lots of other sensitive consumer info. This apprehension about the lack of security controls on many websites led to their 2014 call for owners to upgrade to the HTTPS standard for their sites.

How This Impacts You

Those taking the initiative to upgrade the security in their web protocol got rewarded with higher rankings in Google’s search engine results. In January 2017 Google reinvigorated their efforts to get website owners to improve their security by adding warnings to sites with no SSL protection for credit card transactions or password entry.

The effort intensifies in October 2017 with Google adding more warning labels sites taking user input. This includes everything from search bars to contact forms. Failure to upgrade to the HTTPS protocol means that users looking to purchase something from your site will get an alarming pop-up screaming about how unsafe your site is. Google’s engine does not like sites deemed unsafe, so you’ll see a dramatic drop in traffic being driven to your page.

Don’t let your hard work go to waste by failing to act. Do everything you can to bring your site up to Google’s standard. That way you can go back to worrying about attracting sales, not about losing them because of bad security.