The Rise of Secure Searches
Why Your Website Should Be Secured
By Jeremy Ashburn
December 3rd, 2018
In today’s world, it’s virtually guaranteed that any business will have a website. If you are the owner of such a business, your website may exist for a variety of reasons: for online transactions, company information, or whatever reason you chose to have a website. In any case, all business owners who use a website must ask themselves one question: “is my site safe?”
How You Can Tell If Your Website Is Safe
The simplest way to find out is by asking your domain host or web developer if the site has an SSL certification. This creates an encrypted link between the web server and the browser that ensures the privacy of the data processed between the two. The best way to tell if the website has an SSL is by looking at the site’s URL. If it starts with https://, and not http://, then the site is secure.
A History Of Safe Browsing
August 6, 2014: announces
- August 6, 2014: Google announces that they will give minor rank boosts to websites that add an SSL, while also stating that they would like to encourage all website owners to switch to HTTPS from HTTP to help people enjoy a secure search experience.
October 2016: While speaking at BrightEdge’s Share16
- October 2016: While speaking at BrightEdge’s Share16, Google’s Thao Tran says that the future of the web is “a secure one,” and proceeds to stress that the company wants people to understand the importance of HTTPS.
- Late 2016: Version 56 of the web browser Google Chrome is released, which displays that non-HTTPS sites that collect credit card information and passwords will be shown as “not secure” in the location bar. Alongside the update, Chrome also announces plans to label all non-HTTPS sites as not being secure.
How Your Website Is Affected By Safe Browsing
An SSL is crucial for any website that requires logins, allows for online purchases, or lets users establish subscriptions. Thanks to the Chrome update, sites without an SSL may be deemed “not secure,” which will likely confuse and alarm many users. This will lead to your business losing sales and leads. Even if you don’t run an e-commerce website, it’s advised that you set up an SSL since the update will affect all websites.
Safe Searches and SEO
- What we already know: Google will be giving rank boosts to sites that deem secure. We also know that, according to the Digital Analytics Program, Google Chrome makes up 44.5% of browser uses (on top of making up 85% of the desktop browser market share).
What we can anticipate:
- What we can anticipate: The release of the newest version of Chrome will encourage other web browsers to encourage safe search opportunities. While e-commerce sites are the first sites to be affected, it will eventually affect all other sites. This means that Google may even change their algorithm to prop up secure sites.
What may happen:
- What may happen: It’s safe to assume that non-secure sites may be penalized via removal from search results. Not only will you be deemed “not secure” on Google, but on other platforms as well
Your Take Away
- If you’re a business owner with a website, it’s essential to ensure that your site is secured.
- History shows that Google’s efforts are directed primarily at secure browsing, and that they will boost the ranking of sites that use an SSL.
- The Google Chrome update indicates whether or not a site (especially one specializing in e-commerce or is password-driven) is “not secure,” and other browsers are sure too follow suit
- Security will affect your website through usability, user experience, and authority, which in turn affects your search ranking.
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JunkEver seen this type of writing on the web? Seriously? What does this stuff even mean? What we’re looking at here isn’t high quality writing. No, my friends, this is junk. Everything you publish on your site or on the web should ad value for the searcher. Never, ever, is it OK to publish junk, anywhere on the web. Unfortunately, the web is littered with junk like this: See how the words “red apples” are repeated over and over in the content of this paragraph? The process of doing this is called “keyword stuffing.”
Keyword StuffingGoogle defines keyword stuffing as the “practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.” Quite often, keywords appear over and over again in lists, groups, or patterns. Most of the time, these keywords appear totally out of context and repeated over and over. And, guess what? Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing. This is because the act of doing keyword stuffing is an attempt of manipulate Google’s algorithm. Google especially hates any attempt to manipulate their algorithm in any way. What happens when Google finds out a website is trying to manipulate them? Yep, you guessed it. Whenever Google finds violations like this they will “add a slap” to the website and penalize it in the rankings. In real world examples, this usually means that the offending site will drop out of Google’s First page into the second, third, or hundredth page. Basically, the offending website disappears from Google’s Search altogether and it can take alot of work to make that website “move to the top” again. Sometimes it’s not even possible.
Why Publish this Junk?So why do we see this so called “keyword stuffing” across the web? Once upon a time back before 2012, keyword stuffing was actually common practice among people that did SEO. The reason that SEO people did this was because it actually worked. The combination of keyword stuffing and publishing articles across the web would actually make a website go to the top of Google. Unfortunately, the web was littered with more examples of things that look like this: Keyword stuffing is, at it’s core, spam. And, Google hates spam. When the engineers at Google saw that the web was being littered with all this spam, they decided to do something about it.
Google RespondsSo, what happened? Google got smarter. Around 2012, Google started releasing a whole bunch of updates to their algorithm that began to penalize sites for keyword stuffing. At that time, thousands of sites that were using keyword stuffing dropped out of Google completely, never to be seen again. 2012 were dark days for many SEO’s because they lost thousands of hours of hard work down the drain. Because they considered Google unpredictable, many people stopped doing Search Engine Optimization completely. Since 2012, Google has gotten better and better at recognizing and penalizing all types of spam. The actual process of Google’s engineers updating the algorithm, over and over, have made it much more intelligent. It’s my opinion that all this algorithm updating has made Google into the first Artificial Intelligence (AI). No worries though, Google isn’t an artificial intelligence that wants to “take over the world,” it’s an AI that wants to make the world a better place by giving the user a great experience. Thing about it? If suddenly, Google started delivering search results that had spam, would people keep using it? Of course not. People would start flocking over to Bing (gasp) and Yahoo (double gasp) away from Google. Google would start loosing it’s 64% desktop market share of the search engine market. For that reason, Google’s top concern is delivering an excellent user experience. Google wants:
- people to quickly find what they’re looking for.
- results that solve problems.
- results that answer questions.
- to suppress spam as much as possible.
Adding ValueOne of my mentors would always repeat this mantra: “Always add value to the web.” When he said this, we meant that whenever we publish anything online, we must make sure that it adds value. We need to make sure that the content we’re publishing answers questions, solves problems, and helps people. Why is Value so important to Google? The reason is that sites that provide a high amount of value help people quickly find what they’re looking for. The more value that people find using Google, the more they’ll tend to keep using Google vs other search engines. When a site answers questions that people are asking for, that’s value. When site’s provide direction to life’s persistent questions, that site is providing value. When a site has a high quality design, that’s value. When a site publishes excellent content, that’s value. Value also gets ranked at the top of Search Engines.
How Can You Add Value?Ok, we get it. Value is, well, valuable. Publishing high quality content on your site will actually boost your company in the search results and also increase your site’s value at the same time. So, what are different ways that you can add value to the web? Here’s a list of pages or blog posts that you could create on your site to add more value:
- Blog Posts that answer your most common questions.
- Pages that Answer Specific Questions.
- Videos about your Company’s Service and/or Offerings.
- Info-graphics about humorous, interesting, and great topics.
- Transcriptions of videos or audio that you’ve recorded on your phone.
- Blog Posts that comment on trending relevant topics on the web.