Google is pushing the entire web towards secure, encrypted connections. The search behemoth already blocks some types of “mixed content” on the web but now things are getting more serious. Google announced that starting in 2020, Chrome will block all mixed content by default, disabling some existing web pages. Find out what this all means in regards to the health and visibility of your law firm website.
What is mixed content?
Some web pages can be neither entirely HTTPS nor completely HTTP. Mixed content is when a secure page (loaded through HTTPS) also contains styles, images, scripts, or other linked content served via an unsecure HTTP connection.
In other words, if your website is secure, encrypted with an HTTPS connection — that doesn’t mean you’re clear of having mixed content on some web pages. You can still be dinged by Google if for example, your law firm’s blog article links to a referenced article on an unsecure site.
Why is mixed content bad?
It’s a bad idea to mix content like this. If a web page is using HTTPS, all its resources should be pulled in via HTTPS as well.
Mixed content presents a security risk for your website and its visitors. According to Google’s developer page: “Mixed content degrades the security and user experience of your HTTPS site… Using these resources, an attacker can often take complete control over the page, not just the compromised resource.”
Sites with mixed content will rank lower than secure sites and prospects won’t even be able to access insecure “mixed” pages. With Google blocking mixed content in 2020, law firm websites will have to clean things up so their web pages will continue working by default.
How to check your law firm website for mixed content
We urge lawyers and legal marketers to run an analysis of their websites to make sure there are no resources that are being loaded using the insecure HTTP protocol. Depending on the number of pages your law firm website has and the number of potential issues, manually checking your website sounds can turn into a laboring task. Manual analysis also leaves room for human error. Depending on your Content Management System, check for plugins that automatically rewrite HTTP resources to HTTPS. We recommend the following 3 tools:
- JitBit SSL Checker: this free tool will crawl your entire website (up to 400 pages), scanning each of them for mixed content
- Really Simple SSL: this plugin will migrate your site to SSL, check for and fix mixed content
- SSL Insecure Content Fixer WordPress Plugin: this plugin is for WordPress sites already migrated to SSL
What about other browsers?
Google Chrome isn’t alone. Firefox blocks mixed content and requires you to click a “Disable protection for now” setting to reenable it. Apple’s Safari blocks mixed content too and we expect these other browsers to follow in Google’s footsteps, enforcing the same stricter content security policies.
The restrictions Google is placing on mixed content will bring more security to the internet. They will also hinder the search visibility and disrupt website traffic to those websites that do not comply with the impending regulations. A well-developed SEO strategy should include a plan to monitor and fix mixed content. Don’t risk getting your website pages being blocked by Google. If your firm needs help with SEO, contact us today for a consultation.