Have you made the switch from HTTP to HTTPS yet? Ever since Google started using HTTPS as a ranking signal, more and more website owners have been making the switch purely for the SEO benefits. However, countless others have been putting it off because it hardly seems necessary if a website doesn’t deal with sensitive information.
Well, as of October 2017, the HTTPS protocol is no longer optional. In a long-standing initiative to keep the web safe for users, Google is now making HTTPS a requirement for websites with any kind of data entry fields. In fact, Google plans to display the “Not Secure” warning for all web pages without HTTPS, which puts website owners at risk of losing business as a result.
Is Your Website At Risk?
To help you and your audience navigate the web more safely, we’re making it really easy for you to quickly identify whether or not a website is secure or not.
For “Secure” Websites: Look for the green lock icon in the address bar located to the left of the domain URL. This indicates the website is safe to use.
For “Not Secure” Websites: If the site is not secure, poses a security risk or has been flagged as dangerous, then you will notice a red triangle icon instead.
If your website is at risk, GTMA has you covered. Starting today, all new websites built and hosted by our sister company, Razz Interactive, will automatically come with Global CDN and free HTTPS. What does this mean for multifamily marketers and website owners?
- Faster Page Loading Speeds – Prevent users from bouncing away from your website before you’ve even had a chance to wow them with your stunning visuals, apartment video tours and micro moments.
- Greater Website Security – Protect the privacy of your residents regardless of the interaction exchange. Whether it’s a rental application, maintenance request or electronic rent payment, prevent intruders from exploiting sensitive information.
- Better Search Engine Rankings – Simply put, this new requirement instilled upon us by the Internet gods is good for SEO because it impacts your trustworthiness as a website, which is part of Google’s ranking algorithm.
What is a Global CDN?
With a global CDN (content delivery network), your website is distributed across multiple access points across the globe, which allows your content to be delivered closer to a user’s location. So no matter where in the world someone is accessing a web page on your website, it will load just as fast as if they were accessing it from your local network. This means a faster, more efficient user experience. Use the PageSpeed Insights web tool to analyze your website’s performance for further insights on how to optimize your website for faster delivery.
Why HTTPS Matters
An HTTPS is a secure version of an HTTP, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and is the vehicle that transports and delivers information between a web browser and the website being accessed through that web browser. With a standard HTTP, anyone can theoretically intercept and read your messages. With a secure HTTP, your messages get encrypted so no one but you can read them. Most website owners use a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol to encrypt their online data.
What is an SSL or TLS Certificate?
An SSL or TLS certificate is website security feature that allows for the exchange of sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords for a resident portal, rental applications or payment information. With HTTPS, whenever a resident logs in to submit a maintenance request, or pay rent, or when someone submits an rental application online, the information provided is encrypted as it makes its way from their computer all the way to yours. So not only is your website operating at higher speeds because of a Global CDN, now it is protecting that information so that if any “middle men” were to get access it as it travels through Internet land, they won’t be able to read it; all they will see is gobbledygook.
How HTTPS Impacts SEO
“One of the major signals Google looks for in ranking a domain is trust; HTTPS helps a domain convey that signal,” says GTMA Director of SEO Gary Magnone. “In fact, a recent study of one million Google search results revealed a strong correlation between HTTPS and higher search engine rankings.” Without HTTPS, even a simple contact form on a non-secure website could lose the trust of your target audience. The moment that “your connection is not secure” or “enter information at your risk” warning appears, prospective residents are moving on to your competitor. Not only is that “S” after “HTTP” a sign of trust, but it also happens to be a requirement for Accelerated Mobile Pages (or AMP for short) which makes your web pages load faster on mobile devices and gives them a sleeker look compared to a standard HTML page—something to consider if you’re using a blog as part of your SEO strategy.
HTTPS is fast becoming the new normal for website owners, which means higher ranking opportunities once this feature has been enabled. At the end of the day, Google favors websites that are fast and secure—so do your residents and prospective residents. Consider this new initiative the first step to building a great relationship with your future renters and improving your overall website performance.