Google has announced that the new, updated deadline for sites to convert to HTTPS is July of this year. After that, their browser, Chrome, will begine prominently warning users if a site that they visit is insecure.

Although this won’t matter if the site is not collecting or requesting log-in data or credit card details, a warning that a site is insecure may still affect users who, uncertain of the technicalities behind the warning, may be more likely to simply abandon the site.

Critical For Google Ads Users

Although the warning will display for any users, it appears that the conversion to HTTPS will be even more critical if you are sending traffic to your site via Google’s paid advertising platform, Google Ads. It appears that if you are sending Google Ads visitors to an insecure site, visitors may be required to manually add a security exception before being able to view the site.

It should go without saying that the chances of users doing this are minimal. By far the majority will abandon the site rather than figure out what the warning means, and as such, if you’re using Google Ads, it’s essential that you update your site to HTTPS before the deadline.

Chrome Market Share

With Google’s Chrome browser recently having passed the 50% mark in terms of market share in South Africa, you could potentially be affecting half of your possible web visitors if you choose not to upgrade from HTTP to HTTPS.

Something To Remember

When making the decision to upgrade, (if you haven’t already), it’s important to keep in mind that it can involve some technical issues as well, notably the issue of mixed content.

This happens when, for example, your site is HTTPS, but it uses assets (like images, JavaScript or CSS) which comes from or references, an insecure site. For things like JS, the site might refuse to load it at all, while images will load, but the site will not be considered completely secure, and some form of warning may still display.

Google has yet to confirm how they will deal with mixed content (some secure, some not), but ideally, you want to ensure that everything your site loads is using a secure form of transfer in order to avoid potential issues.

One last thing is that some time ago, Google made the security of the site one of their minor ranking factors, so having your site on HTTPS can also give a very small boost to your search engine rankings.