If you missed Google’s recent July 24 website security deadline, your site might be in for some negative consequences. Ensure your law, CPA, insurance, or other professional service firm’s website stays in good standing by reading this conversation between PracticeProfs president Dave Slovin and lead developer Christopher Borchert.  

Dave: If a firm wasn’t aware of Google’s recent deadline, what’s the executive summary?

Chris: It’s all about creating a safer, more transparent web experience. Google—via its Chrome browser—is now marking non-encrypted sites as “Not Secure.” For sites that begin with “http” instead of “https,” this new label will stand out like a sore thumb. Here’s an example of how it would look.

While you may not conduct financial transactions on your website, your visitors expect a secure experience from a professional service firm website. Firms that haven’t already made the switch to an encrypted site should get their web team involved now.

Dave: Do these labels apply to all websites? Or only to certain industries?

Chris: Up until recently, Google focused more on larger websites—particularly those where financial transactions take place, such as banking and e-commerce sites. As of July 24, all sites are affected by the new labeling system.

Dave: Most professional service firm partners aren’t web developers. Help them understand what’s required to comply with Google’s new website security rules.

Chris: To get a website in line with Google’s latest requirements, your web team will need to address three things:

  1. Purchase and install the secure (SSL) certificate on your website. If you are using WordPress to run your site, this should be the easiest part.
  2. Redirect your HTTP website address to the secure HTTPS version. This will ensure that your website visitors always view the encrypted version of your website..
  3. Identify any static HTTP references and redirect them to the secure HTTPS version. This is a little tricky, as some sites have a mix of encrypted and non-encrypted images and pages. The website needs to be 100% secure. Close doesn’t count.

Dave: Why is Google requiring these changes?

Chris: First of all, Google isn’t forcing website owners to encrypt their sites. If you don’t do this, you won’t be going to Google jail. Google’s goal is merely to provide a safer web experience for people who use their Chrome browser. In fact, they report that more than 70% of traffic is now protected. With the increase in privacy concerns and frequent cyber breaches, these improvements are a great thing for website owners as well as their customers, prospects, and other visitors.

Dave: Time to put on your fortune telling hat. What can we expect from Google down the road?

Chris: Sorry Dave, only time will tell, although Google has hinted at a couple of changes:

  • To further promote a safer internet experience, Google may grant secure sites more search engine exposure.
  • Website speed, especially for sites viewed on mobile devices, may have more of an impact in search engine exposure and rankings.

Of course, many other factors will continue to be part of Google’s secret rankings equations. As we wait for more information, now is an excellent time for your web team to start looking into ways they can improve your law firm’s website speed on mobile. But first, don’t forget about encrypting your site and setting up those redirects. 

 

Google started marking all non-encrypted websites as “not secure” when viewed through its Chrome browser, which has about a 60% market share. Read our article that appeared in the Daily Report powered by Law.com.

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