People rarely take SEO recommendations seriously, especially when there are no direct repercussions of not following them on the horizon.
So, when in 2014 Google confirmed HTTPS as a ranking signal – that is, recommended that all websites should migrate to HTTPS for the sake of their users’ security – few website owners took it as a direct instruction.
According to research conducted by Stone Temple Marketing in 2014 which analyzed the security of 200,000 websites, only a tiny minority of 0.3% switched to HTTPS at that time.
For several years after that, the speed of HTTPS adoption was slow, and yet Google kept sending out the message about the need for a more secure web. So, on September 7th 2016 Google made another announcement: beginning in January 2017, they are going to mark all the non-secure websites visited via Chrome browser.
What that meant was that a warning would be displayed on HTTP websites in the following cases:
- If the page had password or credit card input fields;
- If there was an entry field of any kind on the page;
- If the page was visited in Incognito mode.