The very first thing that these WordPress changes will address is to cease all efforts in promoting hosting partners provided that they issue an SSL certificate for all users by default. This change will happen as early as the first quarter of 2017.
WordPress then went on to state that they will continue to study and assess products and features that can benefit the most from SSL as well as firmly stating that these features will only be made available when SSL is confirmed to be compatible or present on a website. One of the features that WordPress is considering for this is API authentication.
What’s happening here is that WordPress has taken another step into a world where browsing the internet is safer because of extra encryption and security. Basically speaking, this change will definitely increase WordPress sites that run on HTTPS is about to multiply significantly. WordPress isn’t the first company to adopt this change in favor of more secure browsing experience and it certainly won’t be the last.
Google set the trend back in 2014 when it decided that HTTPS is vital to the point that simply having it on your website can (positively) affect your rankings. Yup, Google basically said that HTTPS is important so it’s going to be a ranking factor that people should look out for. It’s not an overly significant factor but it does help. Imagine having two competing websites that are equal in every aspect except that one of them is running HTTPS while the other isn’t. The one running HTTPS will narrowly win that ranking battle hands down, no questions asked. Every little boost counts.
The thing about HTTPS only slightly affecting ranking hasn’t stopped many SEO specialists from adopting and studying HTTPS like crazy. Heck, I was one of them. I’m still a nut on HTTPS and in fact, all of my websites run on HTTPS simply because it’s more secure than HTTP.
Moving forward, since HTTPS’ inception, it has now become something of a trust factor for users because when people see or realize that the website that they’re visiting is running on HTTPS then they can breathe easy knowing that security is one of that website’s priorities. That’s how I personally feel too.
Even after all of the benefits were revealed to the world as well as the positive reputation that HTTPS has, some people have yet to migrate their website to HTTPS. I understand, it’s hard or scary to migrate your website but listen up: You are running out of reasons to NOT upgrade your website to HTTPS.
Back in the day, upgrading to HTTPS was expensive and it was an extremely arduous process – I kid you not. That’s the reason why a few older webmasters have yet to upgrade to HTTPS but the thing is it’s almost 2017 and technology has advanced to the point that all it takes is a single click to securely migrate your website to HTTPS.
There are still a lot of unknown factors going into 2017, especially for WordPress and SEO as a whole but it’s a hundred percent sure that we’re going to be hearing a lot more from WordPress in the coming weeks so I’ll keep an eye on that so I can share my thoughts with you as they come.
Moving forward, it might sound like I’m advocating HTTPS so don’t get me wrong: I strongly advocate HTTPS and if your website isn’t running on HTTPS yet then you should stop what you’re doing and get started immediately or 2017 is going to leave you and your website behind or you can do the the next best thing: Send me an email :)
What are your thoughts on these upcoming changes to WordPress? Are you excited or worried? Do you have any experiences with change that you might want to share? Let’s talk about your thoughts in the comment box below.