Google recently announced their latest Chrome update, Chrome Version 62. This update will affect most websites and should not be taken lightly. Sites with text input fields will need an SSL Certificate to avoid negative impacts to site performance and search rank.
Starting this month, if you have not implemented an SSL Certificate, Google will send visitors a highly conspicuous and repellent warning stating that their connection is not secure. This will turn many visitors away from continuing to your website and result in a dramatic decrease in direct bookings.
The Importance of Website Security
It goes without saying that first impressions are always incredibly important, and that fact holds true especially in hospitality. Your first interaction with a guest could determine whether that person stays at your hotel or is turned off completely.
In today’s market, your customers’ first impressions no longer take place the moment they walk through your doors. It happens when they visit your property’s website.
Simply put, if your website is not secure, lacks updated functionality, or makes it difficult and time consuming for your potential guests to book a room or reserve a table, it is likely they will choose to go somewhere else.
There are many factors that play a role in providing a superior guest experience online and website security almost always tops that list.
Maintaining The Trust of Your Customers
Giving your credit card number and personal information to a secure site is stressful enough. Handing the keys to your bank account and personal identity to an unsecure website can be truly horrifying! Your hotel’s website needs to be properly secured and certified by a PCI (Payment Card Industry) Compliant provider.
This is a guaranteed secure way to accept payments online and will increase guests’ trust in your brand. Having a payment process that your guests trust is one of the most important elements of your booking experience.
Research shows that two-thirds of US travelers are nervous about being redirected to a third-party site to pay. This indicates that they are less likely to trust a hotel website and complete the booking. Take advantage of the opportunity when you can and reassure your guests on your website where you can.
It’s been said time and time again, but it cannot be overstated how important that little ‘s’ at the end of ‘https://’ is to your customers. Utilizing SSL certificates to ensure a secure booking and payment process is an absolute must to earn more online business.
What is an SSL and why should I use it?
Before we tackle those questions, let’s cover the basics. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, (or Digital Certificate) a security method which encrypts of data when being transferred over a server.
SSL certificates help to protect the transfer of sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords and usernames, and Social Security numbers.
Long story short, SSL certificates allow for encrypted protection during the online transfer of sensitive information.
Today, it’s common for people to feel uneasy and vulnerable when typing their credit card number in plain text online. With a lack of trust in ecommerce, people are less likely to continue their booking online.
This is because people are uncomfortable giving their information, without knowing where it goes once they hit “submit.”
This is where SSL certificates come into play.
SSL Certificate types
It is important to know the different certificate types and how to use them. Here are the three most common:
- Domain-validated SSL certificate (low assurance certificate)- the standard type in which the domain name is registered and an admin will approve or deny requests to come in or go out of the server. We generally recommend this type to be used on internal systems only.
- Organization-validated SSL certificate (medium assurance certificate)- requires the domain to be administrated by agents that will authenticate ownership of the server. This type would be used for most businesses that do not have an online e-commerce presence.
- Extended validation SSL certificate (high assurance certificate)- a type which requires extensive information to be provided as proof of domain ownership and checks to safeguard that your business is a legal entity. We strongly recommend that all e-commerce businesses use this type.
Chrome 62 Update – Effective October 2017
To keep the web as secure as possible, Google, along with other web browsers, has begun rewarding secure websites (sites using SSL – denoted by HTTPS prefix) and penalizing sites which do not have an SSL Certificate. (HTTP)
For starters, secure sites have seen a boost in organic rankings within Google and preferred placement over non-SSL sites.
With Chrome version 56, which came out in January 2017, Google began marking HTTP sites which password or credit card fields as “Not Secure”, and as a result saw a 23% decrease in navigations to those sites.
As passwords and credit card numbers should not be the only data that should be private, when version 62 comes live in October, Google will extend that protocol to all sites which do not have an SSL certificate and have fields where data is entered.
This update includes an automatic security warning when a user navigates to a “Not Secure”/HTTP site that has a data input. (contact page, reservation request, search bars, login pages, RFP, email signup, etc.)
It will also be shown on ALL web pages of an http site when a user is in Incognito mode, regardless of there being text input on the page or not.
With the information provided and as history has shown in cases such as these, we can assume that potential visitors will back out instead of going forward to the website.
This update will drastically reduce visits and conversions on sites without SSL certificates, as there is no faith in the security of the website.
- PURCHASE AN SSL CERTIFICATE FOR YOUR PROPERTIES WEBSITE.
- Ensure that all http:// pages redirect properly to the new https:// pages. If done correctly, this will NOT impact your SEO or links negatively. It will carry over to the new secure site.
- Any links within your new secure pages also need to be updated. Example: your home page links to several other pages within your website. Make sure these links have https:// or you will have “mixed content” (unsecure elements on a secure page). It is unclear if Google will still serve up a warning when there are unsecure elements on the page.
- Work with a digital agency like Vizergy to ensure proper installation and maintenance of your SSL certificate.
Let the Vizergy Team Help!
For 18 years, Vizergy has been helping hotels, restaurants and property management companies attract more guests through innovative website design and digital marketing strategies.