Things change rapidly in the WordPress world. The content in this post is more than a year old and may no longer represent best practices.
Google is laying down the law again. Are you (and your clients) ready for 2017’s requirements regarding SSL (HTTPS), popups, and Google AMP? It’s really all about mobile-friendliness. This is a search ranking trend that’s been going on even since before “Mobile-geddon” in 2015.
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Main Presentation: Is Your (Client’s) Website Ready for 2017?
This presentation covers three things you and your clients need to think about in 2017, in order of universality and importance.
Google is pushing us all toward the use of HTTPS (the secure version of HTTP) by shaming sites that are not secure. But Google isn’t the only one. You need HTTPS in order to use the new, faster, HTTP/2 protocol. WordPress will start making some features available only to sites that use HTTPS, and will only include hosting companies that offer free SSL certificates among their recommended hosts. PayPal now requires HTTPS for anyone using its IPN.
The three types of SSL certificates are DV (Domain Verification), OV (Organization Verification) and EV (Extended Verification). Most people only need DV certificates. (The free certificates offered by Cloudflare and Let’s Encrypt are DV certificates.) If you need to demonstrate that you are a legitimate business, you might need an OV certificate. If yours is a site that might be spoofed for a phishing attack (such as a financial institution or auction site), you’ll need to pay the extra money for the EV certificate.
The good news is that many hosts already make it easy to get a free SSL certificate, and even if yours doesn’t, you can get free HTTPS through Cloudflare. The presentation walks through setting up HTTPS on SiteGround, WP Engine, Pressable, and BlueHost, followed by the basics of setting up SSL with a free Cloudflare account.
After you set up HTTPS, remember to update your Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Otherwise you’ll be wondering what happened to all your traffic.
- What Is HTTPS?
- What Is an SSL Certificate?
- What Are the Types of SSL?
- Google Starts Giving A Ranking Boost To Secure HTTPS/SSL Sites
- PayPal IPN and HTTPS
- WordPress Moving Toward SSL
- Performance Best Practices in the HTTP/2 Era
- Imminent: Non-HTTPS Sites Labeled “Not Secure” by Chrome
- Really Simple SSL Plugin (Don’t use on WP Engine)
- Let’s Encrypt
- Cloudflare WordPress Plugin
- How to Properly Migrate a WordPress Site to HTTPS
- SSL Server Test
- Why No Padlock?
Mobile Search Penalty for “Intrusive Interstitials”
This only applies to mobile: we’re going to keep seeing obnoxious intersitials on our desktops/laptops.
Your email signup form and other offers for your own products are included.
The “interstitial” doesn’t have to be an actual popup: anything that covers the first screen visitors land on from a mobile search link counts.
Legally required popups (such as for age-restricted sites or the European Cookie Law) will not be penalized. Small ads, inline ads, and exit-intent popups are acceptable.
To avoid penalties, make sure that:
- Popups are desktop only by Default
- You Use Device Specific Display Rules
- Floating Bars are Mobile Optimized
- You Use Smart Display Rule Triggers
- Google Webmaster Blog: Helping users easily access content on mobile
- The New Google Mobile Friendly Rules for Popups (and How They Affect OptinMonster)
- Lowdown on Google Mobile Popup Penalty for WordPress Users
Google AMP and Mobile Performance
There seem to be as many drawbacks as advantages to Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). If you are a news organization syndicating articles, it might be a good idea. But it’s not the only way to ensure a good mobile user experience, and AMP pages don’t include your branding or calls to action.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages Project
- Automattic’s AMP Plugin
- Glue for Yoast SEO and AMP
- AMP for WP (Alternative to Automattic plugin)
- AMP Supremacy (Alternative to Automattic Plugin)
- Custom AMP (Alternative to Automattic plugin)
- Facebook Instant Articles & Google AMP Pages by PageFrog (Alternative to Automattic Plugin)
- Three reasons you might not need Google AMP after all
- Do I Need AMP?
- How to Set Up Google Amp for WordPress (And Why You Should)
- Diving Into Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)