Among newer SEO issues that have become a widespread problem is so-called “Mixed Content” issue.
Let’s find out:
Mixed Content issue occurs when a secure page serves non-secure content (images, videos, but also scripts, styles, etc.)
Mixed content occurs when initial HTML is loaded over a secure HTTPS connection, but other resources (such as images, videos, stylesheets, scripts) are loaded over an insecure HTTP connection. This is called mixed content because both HTTP and HTTPS content are being loaded to display the same page, and the initial request was secure over HTTPS.Source: Jo-el van Bergen (Google)
There are two types of mixed content:
- Passive mixed content: insecure videos, images,and audio files, and other resources that cannot interact with the rest of the page.
- Active mixed content: non-secure iframes, scripts, stylesheets, flash resources, and other code that a browser can download and execute.
The issue has become a widespread problem after lots of sites switched to HTTPS protocols, following Google’s persistent recommendation (when it was confirmed as a ranking factor).
Mixed content hurts the website’s security and speed, but most important, it causes Google Chrome (and probably other browsers) to block your non-secure content.
Put simply, previously Google Chrome would show an error when a secure page loads non-secure content, but now the browser would quietly refuse to load it
While this may be better for the user (they will not rush to leave your site when being alerted of some weird security errors), this also makes identifying mixed content harder for the website owners.
Does Mixed Content Impact Your SEO?
Google doesn’t say that there’s any direct impact on organic rankings for pages that serve non-secure content. We do know that Google is over-protective of security and usability of pages that show up in Google’s SERPs.
Since Google defines mixed content as
degrading the security and user experience of your HTTPS site.Source: Google
On top of that, as mentioned above, HTTPS encryption is an official Google’s ranking factor, so a partial absence of it must one too.
So it is safe to assume that Google may be flagging mixed content as something they may not want to on the very top of Google
Now that identifying mixed content by using a browser has become harder, how to go about finding and consequently fixing it?
Secure Checker is the free SEO tool that will alert you of any mixed content issues.
The free Secure Checker uses a headless Chrome browser to load each URL which is entered.
What this means is that the mixed content errors displayed by the tool are directly pulled from the browser console, hence these are the same errors that a live Google Chrome browser would identify:
This is exactly the content that will be blocked by Google Chrome.
Mixed content should be part of any SEO audit or usability audit from now, so this free tool will hopefully turn helpful. Please do let us know if you have any feedback or feature requests in the comments below!