Any knowledgeable SEO firm will tell you that secure websites will stay in Google’s good graces in terms of ranking position when they migrate to HTTPS. This isn’t new news, as Google has encouraged websites to do this for years. However, it’s always a bit more convincing when you know that there is something to gain from the change, which is why more web owners are considering switching from HTTP to HTTPS.
If you haven’t secured your site, it’s not too late to make the switch. Once you do, you will be back in Google’s good graces and have the peace of mind that your site is secure. In this post, we will discuss the difference between HTTP and HTTPS and why Google prefers certified sites. We will also review the SEO benefits that you can expect by going to a secure site.
Let’s get started!
What’s the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. This system transmits and receives information across the internet. Basically, information is sent from Point A to Point B, but the system doesn’t really care how it gets there.
HTTP is also known to be “stateless,” meaning that it doesn’t remember anything that happened during the session. The benefit to this is that it allows the information to be sent faster because there is less data to include.
HTTPS, on the other hand, standards for Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol. This system was developed for secure transactions, such as those that contain sensitive credit card or bank information.
When vulnerable information is exchanged, it needs to be secured so that unauthorized access doesn’t occur. HTTPS allows this to happen. It works in the same way as HTTP, except that it offers an extra layer of protection. In other words, HTTPS does care about how information is sent from Point A to Point B.
Why Does Google Prefer HTTPS?
Google prefers sites that are certified and secure. Users are more likely to trust these pages because they know that their information will be encrypted, so Google is happy to show these websites first.
Getting a certificate for your website isn’t always easy. The extra steps you have to go through is why Google is willing to give you an extra boost in the search rankings. Let’s break down the process so that you can get a better understanding of what will be expected from you.
When you obtain a certificate, you are getting it from a trusted third party. The browser recognizes the secure site and uses the information in the certificate to validate your site. The purpose is to make sure that your site is what it claims to be. Knowing the difference between HTTP and HTTPS helps you to be an informed consumer when buying a certificate.
What are the SEO Benefits You Can Expect to See?
Migrating to HTTPS gives you more benefits aside from the boost in rankings. Below are additional SEO advantages that should make the decision to switch to HTTPS even easier.
We already discussed improved rankings, but consider it from an SEO perspective. HTTPS is a slight ranking signal, so it can help move you up in the SERPs. With better rankings, you can expect to see more traffic and leads come your way, too.
When traffic goes through an HTTPS site, the secure referral information is kept intact. This is the opposite of how HTTP works, as the information is not preserved.
Security and Privacy
HTTPS provides your site with more security, which is good for your website, your users and your overall SEO goals. Here’s why.
First, it’s verified on the user’s end that your website is the one that the server is supposed to be connecting with. This makes your site more secure and attractive to users as well. Second, all information is encrypted, including URLs, so that all browsing history and credit card information is protected. Finally, having a secure site prevents tampering from third parties.
Are There any Drawbacks to Going HTTPS?
It’s completely safe to go from HTTP to HTTPS. Google has been encouraging webmasters to do this for years. That said, you do want to be thoughtful about your approach as you don’t want your traffic to decrease. Below are a few suggestions from Google.
Determine the certificate needed: single, multi-domain or wildcard
Use 2048-bit key certificates
Do not block your pages by robots.txt pages
Allow the search engines to index your pages where possible
Use relative URLs for resources that are on the same domain
Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
We recommend hiring a trusted web developer to migrate you over to HTTPS, as developers can get this done relatively quickly with no hiccups. You can switch to HTTPS on your own, but it may be a little overwhelming if you have no IT experience. The basic steps include:
Provide your Certificate Signing Request on your webserver
Choose the server software the was used to create the CSR
Select the hash algorithm that you want to use
Set the dates that your Certificate will be valid
If you haven’t yet made the switch over to HTTPS, now is the time to do so. If you involve your web development team, the process won’t be complicated at all. In fact, you can see a range of benefits, such as increased rankings and a securer site for your users to enjoy in no time.