Keep up to date with the latest security requirements.

Don’t Let Your Unsecured IDX Plugin Invalidate Your SSL Certificate.

Do you know if your IDX Plugin is secure?  An unsecured plugin could soon begin to cause you trouble if it isn’t already.

Do you know if your IDX Plugin is secure?  An unsecured plugin could soon begin to cause you trouble if it isn’t already.

In December 2016 Google announced that beginning February 1, 2017, it would start marking sites (that collect sensitive information) non-secure unless they are HTTPS secure. For Real Estate professionals, this change will have a direct impact on their SEO rankings and the ability to capture leads.

Unsecured IDX PluginIn 2014, when Google first made the call for SSL everywhere on the web, many Agents took action to make their websites secure. However, some had an unexpected wake-up call on February 1st, when they discovered their HTTPS website was marked as non-secure. So why did this happened?

If Your IDX Plugin is Not SSL Secure, Then Your Website is not Secure.

The answer- Unless every part of your website is secure, it website will not be considered secure by Google, Firefox and other search engines, and will be marked as such. Real Estate websites have been particularly affected by these changes as a lot of content can come from 3rd parties – especially your IDX plugin.

If your IDX plugin is not secure and your provider does not support SSL (Secure Socket Layer, the certificate that provides the security layer) then you should make the move to a secure IDX plugin now. If you are gathering sensitive information, especially passwords, and you are not SSL secure, your website Visitors will see an alert from Chrome or Firefox stating that your website is not secure. In the near future, that alert will expand to any page with contact forms.

For now, Visitors to unsecured sites are alerted with a small unobtrusive message. However, in the not too distant future, the plan is to increase the visibility of all HTTP sites with a distinctive red triangle to further identify unsecured sites. This is bad for business.  Not too many people are willing to fill in forms (i.e. “sign up”!) on websites that are marked as “not secure”.

SSL certification status also affects SEO Ranking.

SEOIn addition, SSL certification has a measurable effect your search rankings (SEO). Along with the alert displayed when a website is not HTTPS encrypted, Google announced (beginning in 2014) they would assign a ranking signal for HTTPS/SSL within their search algorithms.   At that time, the ranking signal was lightweight, but it gradually gained importance over the years.

Right now Google only uses SEO as a carrot to encourage the switch to HTTPS, but recently they began to consider using the carrot plus the punitive stick to force the issue. What does that mean? By implementing SSL on your website, you stand to be rewarded with higher SEO rankings, but if you choose not to change you may soon see Google penalize your ranking score.

For the Real Estate business, this is a very big deal. As the latest trends in Real Estate marketing move towards a hyperlocal marketing strategy, most Realtors® now depend on first or second-page visibility in their local markets SSL Secure IDX Plugin(you can read more about hyperlocal marketing in Real Estate here). So the point of all of this is, if your website in not HTTPS secure or even if your website is secure but your IDX isn’t, now is the time to switch to a secure IDX provider like UltimateIDX®. Due to all the recent and coming changes, 2017 is the year of the SSL certification/HTTPS website for anyone in Real Estate.

Since 2016, the UltimateIDX CRM Plugin has fully supported SSL. If you need help with a secure IDX plugin or have questions about what it means to have a secure IDX plugin, contact us.

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About the Author:

Paul Eastwood is the CEO of UltimateIDX and founder of it’s parent company Blue Fire Group that has been helping Real Estate agents with online marketing for a long time.

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