Three different shield icons on google search

The shield icons (circled) appear on my Google search results. My question is - if you have a site that's already https (and shows as such in the search results) what other action do you need to take so that the icon changes from a ? to a tick.

I can't seem to find any information relating to this or what the criteria is...

  • 1
    Does hovering the mouse over an icon show any tips or hints to where it's coming from?
    – BruceWayne
    Nov 14 '21 at 19:00
  • No - when you hover over them it becomes part of the url link. Nov 15 '21 at 10:00
  • My tution-officer has those with saome security software. Nov 16 '21 at 4:45

I am almost certain that those shield icons are not a Google Search feature, as I have never seen or heard of them before and cannot find any mention of them on the internet. If my hunch is correct, the icons are being shown to you by an extension that is installed in your browser, likely an antivirus, firewall or other "security" extension.

Check your list of installed browser extensions and you should be able to figure out which one is injecting these icons into your search results. Needless to say, if they are being injected by a niche browser extension then they are not an SEO concern.

  • 8
    I can confirm with 100% certainty that those shielded icons are not a Google Search Feature. If it was a test the community would have flipped out on Twitter and every guru under the sun would have a click-bait article up about it. Nov 14 '21 at 19:43
  • 1
    @MikeCiffone When searching for features (new) in google I always look for traces of the two thing you mentioned! Nov 16 '21 at 4:45

This looks similar to the Avast Browser Extension, as mentioned on Sitepoint:

"This website is safe" on hover

Only people who have this extension will see these shields. If I recall, it's not difficult to accidentally install this extension when installing Avast Antivirus, and the Chrome store reports it has "10,000,000+ users". There are other extensions that do the same thing, such as Norton Safe Web and Kaspersky Protection.

There is precious little information I have found out there on what exactly it takes to get the green shield. I do know that users of the plugin can rate your website as safe or unsafe, and likely that is a factor. Many of the websites I remember seeing without the green shield were obscure and likely had few to any ratings.

  • Only the color of the tick of the green shield is different. Nov 17 '21 at 4:04
  • @VScode_fanboy True, and plugins like this tend to update their interface, so what you see now won't be what you see in the future.
    – Laurel
    Nov 17 '21 at 4:43
  • Obviously, I knew it. Nov 17 '21 at 5:35

Traced them to AVG! According to their Getting Started guide:

The AVG Online Security browser extension displays information about the browsing quality of the websites you visit based on ratings from other users.

Click the AVG Online Security icon to the right of your address bar to see one of three possible ratings:

  • This website is safe: other users rated the website positively.
  • This site may be untrustworthy: other users rated the website negatively.
  • Unknown site: the website does not have enough ratings to determine its trustworthiness.

I've clicked that I trust my own websites although they still show as a question mark - I suspect that it would need a number of 'thumbs up' before any changes happen.

I use Google Chrome (hence why I thought it was Google related). My concern is that other people who have the same extension activated (and I don't recall ever selecting this) might be put off clicking on one of my sites without a green tick, especially if one of my competitors does have it.

  • right of your address bar? not as left in the question? Nov 16 '21 at 6:29
  • 1
    @VScode_fanboy: there's no mention of the address bar in the question. Nov 16 '21 at 13:45
  • I said what is in the answer?! this answer of course seems not right as this is something that you get after you visit a website as opposed to what the question asks, in the google search results. IMO you should, as I quoted what was in the answer, should direct this to the answer writer not me. Nov 17 '21 at 5:36
  • @BenoitEsnard See for yourself: support.avg.com/… Nov 17 '21 at 5:36

In all of my years I have never seen those shields before in the SERP's. I agree with Maximillian Laumeister that they are either a browser extension or some sort of security software on your computer.

I tried to find the exact plugin or program that would display those and cant find anything in the Chrome or Firefox extension web stores.

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