Make the Switch: Here’s Why You Need to Ditch HTTP for HTTPS

August 16, 2018

Make the Switch: Here’s Why You Need to Ditch HTTP for HTTPS

If you’re in charge of your website’s SEO, chances are you follow Google’s rules and are constantly applying them to your strategy. If so, you know that Google gives a minor ranking boost to secure HTTPS/SSL websites.

So, what does this mean exactly? Read on to understand the difference, and learn how secure sites benefit businesses!

What is HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol?

Hypertext Transfer Protocal (HTTP) is a system for transmitting and receiving information on the Internet. This means that it focuses on information presentation, and not exactly how that data gets from Point A to Point B. HTTP is used to access html pages, and is often how websites that do not use confidential information (think eCommerce with credit card information) are setup.

What is HTTPS: Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol?

Secure HTTP (HTTPS) is a way of securing transaction and exchanging confidential information in such a way that prevents unauthorized access. While HTTP and HTTPS are similar in that they establish a connection to a server on a standard port, HTTPS goes one step further with an added layer of security using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to move data. This is the component that is important to Google.

Why Does Google Prefer HTTPS?

In order to become a secure website, the site needs to obtain a certificate, thus becoming a trusted third party. Once a browser recognizes that a website is secure, the information in the certificate verifies the identity of the site. If a user navigates to your site and sees that it is secure, you have instantly established a level of trust and rapport that allows them to be more confident in any purchasing or partnership capacities. This security benefit also leads to a boost in rankings, since your site is considered that much more relevant and legitimate.

How Does HTTPS Benefit SEO?

While it may seem like enough of an advantage to offer security, HTTPS provides additional SEO benefits that should put making the switch on your radar.

1. Increased Rankings

As discussed, Google does give a ranking boost to HTTPS websites. Even though it may be small, it’s still worth considering, and can provide long-term value over time.

2. Referrer Data

As traffic passes through an HTTPS website, the secure referral information is preserved. When the same traffic passes through an HTTP site, this information is taken away and makes it seem as if the traffic is “direct.”

3. Security and Privacy

With HTTPS, your website is more protected against tampering by third parties, more secure for website visitors, and is encrypted to provide protection for browsing history and credit card information.

4. AMP Requires HTTPS

It is no secret that it is incredibly important to have a mobile-friendly website. In fact, we’ve written about the importance of mobile responsiveness and mobile-first website development! Knowing this, Google developed Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to ensure that content loads quickly on mobile devices. This AMP content is prominently displayed in search results and is important for mobile optimization and a solid user experience for users who use mobile devices when searching on the web. HTTPS is needed in order for AMP to work, thus your site needs it to put your best (mobile) foot forward.

Do you have more questions about secure websites? We’re here to help – just let us know!