Q&A with Google on the Transformation of Website Security

Search marketing is undergoing rapid transformation driven by new technologies. Artificial Intelligence, Voice Search, Visual Search, Amazon, and Blockchain all impact how we search for information and buy products and services online.

The Transformation of Search Summit, which takes place in New York on October 19, combines the expertise of ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, in partnership with Catalyst (part of GroupM), along with speakers from Hertz, Hilton, Condé Nast, LEGO, and more, to dissect the current landscape and provide a deep-dive into actionable steps to future-proof and protect your strategy.

This week we sat down with Juan Felipe Rincón, Global Lead of Trust & Safety Search Outreach at Google, to discuss his role at Google. He’ll be participating in a panel discussion with Google, Amazon, Bing, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Adobe.

ClickZ: Tell us a bit about your role?

Juan Felipe: I lead global team of outreach experts who help website owners build high quality and secure websites that also comply with Google’s webmaster guidelines. We are part of Google’s Trust & Safety team, and my team’s overall goal is to provide clarity and transparency regarding how our product policies work.

CZ: What are your key priorities over the next 12 months?

JF: We have a few primary long-term goals:

  • We want to encourage HTTPS adoption across the web until the vast majority of traffic uses HTTPS. Not only because this is provides critical security and data integrity for websites and user’s personal information and browsing behavior, but also because HTTPS is a requirement for many new browser features, particularly those required for progressive web apps.
  • We want to encourage significant growth in the participation and success of women content creators and entrepreneurs across all parts of the web ecosystem, particularly in emerging markets — from learning how to successfully run a website to succeeding as an online entrepreneur, to developing channels for them to be expert voices in search marketing.
  • We want to significantly reduce the incidence of website hacking across the world by making sure website owners adopt common best practices. Hacked websites are a huge problem for their owners, but above all they’re a risk to the health of the web and the safety of the web’s users. The more difficult we make it for dodgy actors to compromise websites, the safer we make the web.

CZ: What is your biggest challenge in achieving these?

JF: Education and scale. To make a dent in these, we need to make sure our messages reach the right people, and then we need to ensure they take action. This is across the web, in 20+ languages and across millions and millions of websites—and sometimes, particularly when we address issues of gender

equity, helping people overcome societal dynamics that make acting more difficult. Doing this combines some of the most challenging parts of awareness marketing and product education marketing.

CZ: What’s your advice to those who may be facing a similar challenge?

JF: Go back to theory. The problems of driving behavioral change at scale have been studied for centuries, and there are practices and methods that have been well studied to understand all aspects of what Everett Rogers called the technology adoption lifecycle. Secondly, have patience and understand that you will not always be able to attribute changes to your efforts. This mostly helps reminds me that we are using time-tested techniques, and that these big changes take time, and that if the changes ultimately happen, everyone benefits, whether or not my team gets the credit for it.

CZ: What’s the most interesting trend you’re seeing in the market right now?

JF: It’s been going on for many years, but it still takes me aback just how different the notion of a “webmaster” is now than it was 15 years ago. The huge number of tools that make it easy for anyone to create a fantastic website without requiring a technical background is great, and super powerful.

It also means that we need to change how we think about our standard solutions for content creators, from everything to how we let people know how their websites work on organic search to how we speak about concepts like mobile optimizations, structured data markup, page speed and other topics that are very user-focused but currently discussed in very technical terms.

CZ: How is this going to change in the medium and long term?

JF: We’re all going to have to become more comfortable assuming that our audiences do not have a technical background, and we’ll also have to demystify a lot of the technology so that people who have already done difficult things like learn to set up a business, hire employees, manage supply chains,

learn accounting concepts and deal with inventory realize that there’s nothing magical or mystical about the technical concepts they should master to really be successful online.

CZ: Do you have a daily routine? 

JF: There are certain things that happen every week that must happen at a specific time, but for the most part, I try not to make my days routine if only because most things about my work would cause that routine to fall apart anyhow.

I do make a strong point of blocking out time in my calendar at least 3 times a week for power-lifting training. It’s the one way I’ve found to do something like meditation without meditating, which I find very difficult to do. It helps me control anxiety and keep at bay the early signs of stress and depression.

CZ: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

JF: I never knew how to answer that question, but the most consistent memory of what I thought I’d be is a university professor with a PhD in something impressive-sounding.

Juan Felipe is the Webmaster Outreach Lead & EMEA User Advocacy Lead within Google’s Search Quality team, and his team’s mission is to help Webmasters create great online content and make it accessible to users. Prior to joining Google, he spent the better part of the previous 15 years in the mobile and wireless industry, focusing on developer evangelism back when building mobile apps involved trying to put things on tiny little flip phones.

Join the discussion and meet 300 other senior marketers trying to solve the same problems. Be sure to check out the full agenda here.

Interested in winning a free pass to attend the summit? Fill out this survey—we hope to see you there!

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