In July 2018, Google set out to make secure websites a standard, implementing a strategy that causes websites operating without a security certificate to be determined “non-secure” and as a result, face lower listings on Google searches.
**The S in HTTPS means Secure, a security certificate is what enables it, and this is required for new Ad Grant applicants.
In addition to these changes, Google implemented compliance requirements along the same lines for any accounts utilizing or applying for a Google Ad Grant. Currently, if any non-profit applies for a Google Ad Grant without first securing their website, they will be denied ad impressions until their ads lead to a secured website (HTTPS).
While purchasing an SSL certificate is a relatively cheap and painless process, many nonprofits are hesitant in moving forward, questioning whether the money or time it requires is worth the reward beyond the issue of Google Ad Grant Compliance. After working to help secure the websites of multiple non-profits we have found that securing a website is beneficial in multiple areas of their mission including SEO, credibility, and design.
In a culture heavily dependent on Google for information, SEO is essential to any company or organization trying to get their message out. Even if you choose not to utilize the Google Ad Grant, you will likely find benefit in optimizing organic search results. Because of Google’s strict implementation regarding non-secure websites, more organizations will rank lower on relevant searches if they have not yet secured their website. Therefore, switching from HTTP to HTTPS will not only impact your paid/grant search results but your organic results as well.
One of the main reasons that Google places such an emphasis on websites that are secured over those who have not yet purchased and SSL certificate, is because of credibility. Many, especially non-profits, handle a plethora of confidential information from credit card numbers for donations to addresses for mailing lists. When a website is not secured, this information is at greater risk of being hacked and exposed. With this knowledge, many donors will feel much safer providing their person information on a secured website, trusting the credibility and website security of the organization.
Because Google has made such a drastic transition in demanding websites operate out of HTTPS instead of HTTP, many apps and software have made the transition as well. As a webmaster, if your website is still operating without an SSL certificate, you may have trouble finding plugins and software that correspond correctly with your website’s coding. This could throw off the content and overall design of your website, which could drastically impact the viewer experience.
While the switch to HTTPS from HTTP began a subtle suggestion, it has since become an essential step for anyone hoping to compete on Google’s platform. We understand that this step can be tedious, and it might look different for every organization. If your organization’s website is still operating on an non-secure platform, and you are looking to make a change, contact us today. We will be happy to schedule a time to speak with you about securing your website and meeting your marketing goals.