Chris, I recently heard that Google is going to give websites that are “secured” better rankings at Google on a search engine results page (SERP). What is a “secured” website and is this something I need to do at my website right now?”

A: No, not right now anyway.

A secured website is one that uses host based technology to encrypt the data between your hosting server and the computer/browser of the person requesting it.

In short, once your domain on your hosting server is encrypted, and “secured,” your pages are “served” to the bride/groom requesting them in an encrypted manner – and this is what Google would like to see on the Internet.

The idea is that a secured website is a much safer browsing experience for the bride/groom – and yes, it is to a large degree.

The encryption is provided by software in the form of a secured certificate and “certified” via a certifying authority.

Once everything is in place, you would see (with an S) vs. what has been the traditional (no S).

In some website browsers you’ll also see the designation of “secured” or “unsecure.”

Some time ago Google started telling webmasters and website owners that secured websites, using https:// encryption was a good idea, and that they’d be looking for them as their effort to make the Internet a safer place.

Doing their typical vague communication when discussing their ranking algorithm, they’ve also implied that a secured website will be more favorably ranked than a non-secured website.

What should you do?

Nothing, right now.

That said, you should talk to your webmaster about securing your website with a secured certificate and changing your pages to be served as https:// pages – at some point in the future, probably within the next 12 to 24 months. It can be a significant effort and requires some specialized technical knowledge. It’s not just a click of a few buttons.

I’m holding off securing for the time being. Why? First, we don’t process credit cards via the website (we use a third party service that provides a secured and safe purchasing experience). Secondly, I don’t believe the https:// secured designation will hurt my current search engine optimization (SEO) strategy – at least for the time being (through 2017).

This could all change, like many things have on the Internet, but right now, I don’t think http:// vs. https:// is an ACTION NOW issue for most businesses in the wedding industry – and it will not adversely impact your rankings at Google.


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