Dentists Must Go HTTPS or Go Home

SmartBox recently completed migrating all of its dentists’ websites from HTTP to HTTPS. There are several reasons to prefer HTTPS, greater online security and HIPAA compliance being the main ones.

The move to HTTPS is something that dentists’ can’t afford to ignore. A recent article pointed out that sites with HTTPS are beginning to be more prominently featured in organic search results. It’s an open question at this point whether Google is favoring HTTPS sites, or whether they appear more often in search because there are so many more. The same article notes that the penetration of HTTPS to the first page of results may easily reach 50 percent by June 2017.

If your website isn’t HTTPS, you’re being left behind in your search for new dental patients.

Why HTTPS Matters to Your Prospects

When your website is HTTPS, there are some obvious signs that your prospects will notice. The first is at the left side of the address bar in the browser – the padlock and the word “Secure.” People are accustomed to seeing this on e-tail websites. Many of those same people would be uncomfortable transacting business with a non-secure site.

HTTPS provides authentication that your patients and prospects are actually communicating with your website and not an impostor. It also allows secure encryption of information and helps prevent hacking and phishing attacks. With identity theft an increasingly growing problem, more and more consumers are wary about websites.

HTTPS also prevents browser warnings and signals that will at the least interrupt your prospects’ browsing your website – not to mention them causing them to doubt whether they should continue.

You might not think that HTTPS is that big a deal for your website, but if your competitors have embraced this more secure format, you’re being left behind.

Why Dentists Should Care About HTTPS

HTTPS meets the standard mandated for HIPAA-compliant websites. From a liability standpoint, this is no joke – there was a recent article in the news that mentioned a $2 million fine for HIPAA violations.

Over and above security and compliance issues, there’s the possibility that Google is treating HTTPS as a ranking signal in search results. That’s not proven yet, but what is proven is that HTTPS websites are trending toward dominating the first page of organic search results. That’s a trend that you can’t afford to be left out of.

Today’s dental prospects begin their search for a dentist by going online. With Google continuing to dominate search, you need every advantage you can to remain competitive in Google’s local search results.

If you’ve not yet migrated your website to HTTPS, you should do so as soon as possible. It’s feasible for dentists to accomplish that migration themselves – the steps are straightforward, if somewhat involved – but your time is almost certainly better spent seeing patients and solving their dental problems.

HTTPS is taking over the web, and dentists would do well to move their websites to this more secure form of communication. Otherwise, dentists run the risk of losing potential dental patients to their more secure competitors.