This article aims to provide non-technical explanations for 2018 internet changes. Read more to find out how the changes affects everyone on the internet, no matter what kind of website, blog, account, or browser you use.
Google changed their rules at the beginning of 2018, and of course other search engines followed Google’s example. Sites now show in browsers and search engines as either “secure” or “not secure.” Search engines are also ranking content-based sites higher now than they did before 2018.
The change is mostly clean-up, so the sites that are full of spammy links, no real content, and potential to harm your computer, don’t show up in search engine results. However, the distinction isn’t obvious, especially for independent creators, and browsers might block your site if you don’t follow the 2018 internet changes.
In order for a website to show up on the internet as secure, the following are required:
- Web Host
- Dedicated Server
- Paid plan with a dedicated server.
- Paid plan without a dedicated server.
#1 gets you found on the internet in 2018. You might not have a high Google rank, but at least you can be found with a dedicated server.
#2 is cheaper, but makes it harder to find your site online because all web traffic redirects to the site that owns the server, which isn’t you. Without a dedicated server, you’ll have to do more work to direct web traffic to your site.
A dedicated server means the website owner rents their own server. Think of it like renting a house with one address, instead of an apartment in a buildng with multiple addresses.
They cost money. There’s no such thing as a free dedicated server.
I’ve had a dedicated server for my site since 2009, so the change doesn’t make a difference to me. However, I did have to switch to a different web host because the previous one stopped supporting the SSL. My site isn’t an expensive condo, more like a cozy cottage, and that’s more than enough for me.
There are tons of options at a variety of prices, some expensive, a lot are cheap. I recommend shopping around and finding what works for you. Legit web hosts will be honest and say whether they offer plans with a dedicated server. Don’t be afraid to ask.
SSL, Single Socket Layer, is the ability to protect a site from hackers and spambots, while keeping the site open for any kind of transactions. People tend to think of transactions as sales or downloads, but there’s more to it than that.
Site navigation, such as click next page, is seen as a transaction to hackers. If you have more than one page, you need a SSL. And, according to the 2018 internet change, you need a SSL supported by a dedicated server.
Depending on your content, you may need more than just a SSL. I have several security features for my site, included with my by the web host plan.
I find it funny when I come across alarmist internet articles declaring that SEO is dead. SEO is anything but dead. Sure, content is taken more seriously now, but content doesn’t render SEO useless.
SEO, Search Engine Optimizing, is internet language in which your keywords or keyphrases are communicated to search engines. In other words, SEO is the kids’ game Marco Polo.
Your SEO (Marco) > Search Engines (Polo) > Users (Marco) > Back to your SEO (Polo)
Google and other search engines, despite the current popular myth, are not ranking content higher than SEO. They’re ranking content (articles, images, video, audio, etc) as equal to SEO. So, the 2018 internet change is simply this – you need both.
The good news is that search engines are now recognizing whole sentences instead of keywords only, so SEO isn’t as technical as it used to be. Things are changing for the better.
The change also means sites are no longer able to trick search engines with SEO only, and I don’t feel bad about that.
If you maintain a blog on Google Blogger, WordPress, social media, or any number of different sites that are free to sign up, the 2018 internet change can affect you.
You don’t own the server or the website, the sites own everything, and receive all web traffic. It’s now harder to get found online without your own website and dedicated server. It’s not impossible, but the change does mean you can’t depend on free sites for getting found online. You’ll have to promote yourself more outside of free sites.
CMS, content management services, such as WordPress, are good options for people who want to keep web maintenance or coding to a minimum. But, bad news, if you want your site or blog to be found outside of CMS sites, security and SEO plugins are needed. There are free, functional plugins, but a lot that actually work are often paid.
The time of the free internet is over. No matter which kind of site or web host anyone chooses, it now takes an investment: money, time, or both. Go ahead and search the internet. You’ll find a lot of websites that show as “not secure” because they haven’t caught up with 2018 yet. The sites might still be legit, and they’re just behind the times. Or, the sites might be a big scam. As far as the 2018 internet is concerned, it sees everything as potentially harmful unless the site says “secure.”
It’s also a lot harder now for the average internet user to find new and interesting content that’s not owned by a corporation. It’s not the kind of thing you’re guaranteed to find on the first page of Google results anymore. Why? Well…
- Not everyone is rich.
- A lot of independent artists/authors/creators can’t afford a website.
- Not everyone is a developer or a designer.
- Not everyone has the time or ability to post new content 24/7.
- Sometimes content is awesome, but it’s just not getting exposure. It happens, now more so than ever.
So What Can You Do?
There are several options:
- Search for new content on social media instead of search engines.
- Like the content you’ve found? Share on social media or via email.
- Follow back. Make connections. Talk to people.
- If you find a site with awesome content but it says ”not secure,” contact them. Find out why. Send them a link to this article.
- Support site owners who are cliched starving artists and can’t afford a big corporate website, but manage to maintain a SSL supported by a dedicated server.