Google has announced another significant change that will affect many websites you know and love (or own) beginning January 2017.
To make the internet a safer and more pleasant experience, Google is stepping up their algorithms to improve your user experience. These new changes we affectionately refer to as Pop-Up Doomsday and Unencrypted Web.
You don’t have to take our word for it, but here is what we know:
Unsolicited pop-ups are commonplace in website practices today. Upon loading a web page, the user will immediately be presented with a pop-up typically requesting contact information in exchange for a type of promotion. This occurs without the website visitor taking any action. It is unsolicited! On a desktop display, this is already detrimental to the user’s experience. On a mobile device, the experience is far worse.
Beginning January 2017, if your website contains an unsolicited pop-up that takes up most of the user’s screen, Google will lower your page rank. Google has stated, and we agree, that the unsolicited popup is not a good user experience. To continue making the internet a more pleasant experience, Google will direct fewer people to the sites that break this new rule.
MicroD’s pro tip for overcoming this new obstacle is to include a clickable button on your page as a substitute. By encouraging customer involvement before presenting the pop-up, your site will be compliant with Google’s new approach while also improving the user’s experience with your website. That’s why MicroD is making this change on all customer websites before the new algorithm is activated.
Fun Fact: Orange is one of the most clickable buttons.
Safeguard Your Website
Another significant change initiated by Google is intended to make the Internet a safer place to visit. The “better safe than sorry” idiom comes into play when Google’s Chrome browser is used beginning January 2017.
Here’s what you missed in 2016:
Google’s page ranking algorithm gives a boost to websites that use encryption. Sites with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) have an added layer of protection for users that log into the site. This protection is especially important for websites that carry passwords and credit card transactions over the Internet. This secure connection is accomplished by installing an SSL certificate on the server that hosts your website. This encrypts the text and data that flows between the website visitor’s browser and the server that hosts the website. It prevents others from potentially eavesdropping on the conversation.
What does that mean?
Google wants to credit websites that are professionally maintained, and they want to encourage website owners to use encryption for security or safety reasons. Encryption is definitely required when credit card payments are part of the website’s operation. Any website that accepts a username and password should also use encryption. Even websites that collect the email address of visitors should use encryption to protect this information from others who might eavesdrop on the conversation.
Wi-fi, for example, is subject to “eavesdropping” by others. Every package of information that flows between a computer/device and an access point can be seen with the right software tools. Too often, users will set the same password on many different websites. Thus, if someone learns of your password on one website, they might be able to use it successfully on another!
By encouraging all websites to use SSL certificates, whether or not they conduct payment transactions, Google is taking a significant step in the direction toward a safer Internet.
From saving favorites in an online retailer wish list to your mortgage lender account page, users have acquired accounts all across the web.
Here’s What is Coming in 2017:
Beginning January 2017, Google’s Chrome browser will more explicitly warn consumers when they’ve entered a website that does not use an SSL certificate. This warning process has already started and will be introduced in 3 phases.
Today, there is an indication if the website you’re visiting isn’t perfect. The “information” icon located to the left of the URL will be displayed if your connection is not private. In other words, the website does not use SSL to encrypt information. Most users don’t know this character can be clicked–let alone what it means! Take a look at Google’s image below to see an example of the current view in Chrome version 53.
Next, starting in January 2017 with Chrome Version 56, a more prominent message will appear in the Google Chrome address bar:
Not Secure | www.yourwebsite.com will appear starting in January 2017 once Version 56 has been installed by the user. See Google’s image above to preview what the browser will show in this next phase.
Later in 2017, Google will take the next step.
When a user visits a website that is not using HTTPS and an SSL certificate to encrypt information a bright red warning will be displayed to the left of the website’s address.
These changes are all part of Google’s efforts to make the Internet a more pleasant and safer place to visit and conduct business. For the security of your visitors and the best user experience for those visiting your website, we encourage you to make efforts today to update your website to follow these best practices.
Read more at Google’s Security Blog.
Have a website with MicroD? Find out what we’re doing for our clients to stay ahead of Google’s changes!