Will the October 2017 Google Update Kill Your Conversion Rate?

Will the October 2017 Google Update Kill Your Conversion Rate? Feature Image

Having a great landing page conversion rate is key to your business. The combination of making new site visitors more comfortable in taking that next step as well as creating initially persuasive landing pages is an integral part to every digital marketing strategy.

However, there’s a major security update Google is planning to launch this month. Unless you take action now, there’s the strong likelihood that visitors who use Chrome as their browser will experience an unwelcome message when they arrive, rather than your well-planned and designed lead capture forms. It’s all part of the next Google browser release, Chrome version 62. If you capture data for use as leads and ultimately conversion, this update affects you.

What is Chrome 62?

Chrome 62 will be launched by Google any day now. It will tell users who try to input their details into any page which is HTTP rather than HTTPS, that the site is ‘Not Secure’. Google has been working on encouraging site owners to switch to HTTPS since 2014, when it became one of the online security ranking signals. This meant that those with HTTPS could rank higher than those still using HTTP. When Chrome 56 launched in January 2017, it warned users who were giving payment card details of the security risk to using an HTTP page.

How will it affect me?

The ‘S’ of HTTPS means ‘secure’; if hackers intercept your data, all they will see is gibberish rather than the details of generated leads. If your site still has HTTP rather than HTTPS on any page – but particularly your landing pages – the ‘Not Secure’ warning will show and this will certainly make anyone very wary of entering details such as name and email address. In turn this means your landing page is no longer a way to collect leads and so your conversion rate could soon plummet. No new users who think your site is unsafe - or even perhaps hacked - will mean the drying up of customer growth. It will also affect any other non-secure form fields.

What action do I need to take?

If you’re using HTTP, you need to make your site secure before the update affects you, your form fields, your online credibility and ultimately your conversion rate.

You’ll need to install an SSL certificate; this means Secure Sockets Layer and helps with the encryption of data. It also creates the HTTPS environment which means users will continue to use your landing pages and keep the conversion rate healthy. You’ll also gain that all-important locked padlock symbol on all your pages. This is something you can install yourself but you may want to speak to experts as there could be changes to make to internal links; nobody wants to inadvertently end up at broken page. If you decide to make the leap to HTTPS yourself, Google has released a guide here to give you the full run down on what to do – and why.

At some point in the future, Google has stated that a Chrome release is to include the display of an on-screen red triangle containing an exclamation mark alongside the ‘Not secure’ warning. Whilst this disarming visual won’t be part of Chrome 62, it’s not that far away and certainly isn’t something to hang around and wait for.

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