Non-HTTPS sites immediately lose 58% of potential conversions

According to research conducted by Ofcom, 58% of people won’t hand over their personal information to a website that wasn’t HTTPS-enabled (often identifying this by the padlock symbol).

What do users check before entering personal details?

What users check before entering personal details online

That’s a pretty high percentage loss of potential conversions that were affected by changes to Chrome in January that looked like this:

Changes to HTTP on chrome

…and will be affected again by upcoming changes to how HTTPS is handled in Chrome that will look like this in October:

Upcoming changes to HTTPS on chrome

Firefox has made similar changes in recent months such as on the form below:

Firefox communicating non HTTPS site

Moving from HTTP to HTTPS might make for a small ranking boost – but could mean a substantial increase in conversion rate.

1 in 5 adults assume that a site’s inclusion in a search engine must mean that the information it contains is factually correct

On the other end of the scale, Ofcom’s research shows that 1 in 5 believe whatever information appears on a website found on a search engine results page.

58% of search engine users knew that some of the websites listed would be accurate or unbiased but 21% did not. Ofcom also notes that newer users of the internet are more likely to blindly trust the accuracy of search results – they were 11% more likely to answer that question incorrectly.

This is why Google has come in for so much criticism in the “fake news” debate – and why the search engine is making algorithm tweaks to demote results that don’t look accurate.

Back in April, Google VP of search Ben Gomes said:

“We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results we saw back in December are less likely to appear.”

It’s possible that Google is using “payday loan”-esque algorithm additions to police results it’s likely to come under fire for… but it’s more likely that Google is using some of the same trust signals as respondents to the Ofcom report and dial up the visibility of brands.

Interestingly Ofcom’s research also suggests that users are more likely to trust websites that take PayPal payments.  It all goes to show that the public expects big tech companies are doing the due diligence over the sorts of websites they allow to use their products.

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