Your website may be doomed in 2018, at least in the eyes of the search engine gods. As we conclude 2017, it’s time to take a realistic look at your website to see if it needs upgrades to stay in the running with your competition. One of the biggest changes we will see in 2018 will the need for a fast, mobile-responsive website. Google has stated that their plan to crawl mobile-sites before crawling desktop sites will take effect in June. In a recent study by BrightEdge, experts point out that 57% of traffic comes from mobile devices anyway so those without a responsive site may already not have the best visibility. Those searching on a mobile device are often on-the-go so location-based SEO efforts will be increasingly important. Mobile users will seek more content while out and about so businesses have an opportunity to cater to them with enhanced presence. There’s also a significant difference in how keywords rank on mobile verses desktop so more rich content is better. Another big change to your site’s visibility on Google and other search engines has to do with security. Way, way back in 2014 Google put out a call for all websites to use SSL certificates to guarantee security for visitors. This was, and still is, especially important for those sites that collect valuable information like personal payment information. All signs point to other popular browsers, like Safari and Firefox, adopting the same push for security. On Google’s Chrome browser, a website without an SSL will be flagged as “not secure”. Secure pages will begin with “https” in the address bar. So what is SSL and how does it work? Basically, a registered SSL certificate is standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and browser. This encrypted link guarantees that all data passing between remains private. The certificate contains this information:
- Name of holder
- Serial number and expiration date
- Copy of holder’s public key
- Digital signature of issuing authority
All of these things are necessary to encrypt sensitive information and protect a user from cyber crime. Having this extra layer of security builds trust and brand power with your visitors. The actual “lock” image shown in the address bar give a strong visual clue to the public that their information is safe with you.