Google Sends Strong Message About HTTPS in Upcoming Google Chrome Release

At the end of the month, Google will release a new version of the Chrome web browser. In this release there will be a critical change in the way it displays sites that are not using HTTPS, or SSL. We were notified of this through WordFence, the security plugin we use on all our websites. There’s a good article about this on their blog.

What is HTTPS?

The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’, meaning that communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. Browsers will display a lock icon in the address bar to show that HTTPS is in effect.

What does this mean for your site visitors?

If you are not using HTTPS on your website, this new release is going to be confusing for your site visitors on Chrome. Your website will have a message in the url bar that says “Not Secure” on pages that collect credit cards or login information.

Do you need to upgrade to HTTPS?

If your site doesn’t take credit card payments, and doesn’t give your customers the ability to login, this won’t affect you right away. However, you should still consider upgrading to HTTPS, because it is quickly becoming the new standard.

Google has been moving this direction since 2014 when they started giving a small rankings boost to sites with HTTPS. As of now, this is only a minor boost, but experts predict Google will strengthen this signal to encourage all sites to go HTTPS. The most recent Chrome update is a strong indicator of this.

If your site is not currently using HTTPS, most hosts offer SSL certificates. It’s generally an extra $100/year to add an SSL certificate to your hosting package.

This update needs to be coordinated with your web designer, because there are number of changes that need to be made to your WordPress site. Google has a good article about steps you need to take to implement SSL on your site.

Google Announces Crack Down on Intrusive Mobile Pop-Ups

Last week Google announced a crack down on intrusive mobile pop-ups starting in January.

I heard about this through the HubSpot Marketing blog in this article about Google’s algorithm change.

They wrote “pages with mobile pop-ups — or what Google is calling “interstitials” — probably won’t be ranking as highly when these algorithmic changes take effect on January 10, 2017.”

What do this mean to you? We have a number of clients using Sumo Me’s List Builder, and we use it on our website (see example).

sumo me pop up

If you use this plugin you will want to login to Sumo Me, and in the List Builder settings go to Display Rules, and make sure there is a rule for “Don’t Show on Mobile Devices” (see below).

sumo me mobile devices

On our website, I am thinking of switching to Sumo Me’s Smart Bar or Scroll Box instead (see below).

sumo me grown your list

Google’s main reason for the algorithm change is user experience, and let’s face it, pop ups that cover the page content are annoying. They are good tools for growing your list, but I think it’s time to switch to less obtrusive methods.

Claiming your Google Map Listing

If you haven’t done it yet, search for your business in Google Maps, and then follow the steps to “claim your business.”

1). Go to and click on “Maps” in the top left.

2). Search for your business, for example, Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, Nevada City, Ca.  Then, click on your listings.

3). In your listing, you’ll see a link for “Edit.”  Click “Edit”, and then you’ll see a link for “Are you the owner?  Claim your business.”  Click this link.

4). When you click “Edit” you will be prompted to sign in to your Google Local Business Center Account.  If you don’t already have a Google account, set one up now (not to be confused with a gmail account, your Google account can be set up using your existing email address).

5). Once you’ve logged in you’ll have the option to “Edit my business information.”  Then click “Continue” below “Validating your listing.”  To validate your listing, Google will call the listed phone number for your business (right away) with an authorization code.  Write down the code, and then enter it into the box in the Google Local Business Center screen.  If you aren’t able to answer the phone right away, select the mail option, and the code will be mailed to you instead.

6).  Once you’ve claimed your listing you can add photos, hours of operation, your web address, and services.

7). Finally, embed your Google maps listing on the Contact page of your website by clicking the “Link” option in the top right of your Google map listing.  Then, below that, select “Customize and preview embedded map.”

6). Select the size map you want (I usually choose medium), choose map or satellite view, and then zoom in or out until you like the look of your map.

7).  Copy the code and either paste it into the code on your website, or send it in a text document (not word, or it will add extra characters, choose Notepad or TextEdit) to your web designer.