Web security is something that is taken for granted by Internet users. When we browse through web pages, we believe that all the pages are secure and there is no fear or apprehension about dealing with any website. While average Internet users are unaware about web security, webmasters especially SEOs should understand value of secure websites and advantage of HTTPS in search marketing.
In 2014, Google Webmaster Pierre Far called for “HTTPS Everywhere,” at its annual I/O conference. He advocated making HTTPS standard for websites. But SEOs want to know whether switch to HTTPs is worth making and how is it going to help in optimization. Google has the answer to the question why HTTPS everywhere.
The Basics: HTTP vs HTTPS
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a basic structure that transfers information on the Internet in the form of websites and web pages. The HTTPS is created to add a layer of security to the basic structure. It reads Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol and it carries an extra layer of security. The extra security is provided by using Secured Sockets Layer (SSL) and its primary job is to transport secure data.
Until now SSL is considered mandatory for sites that make online transactions like ecommerce sites. These websites verify and authenticate the visitors using SSL. Sensitive information like credit card details and verification passwords are secure on HTTPS due to SSL that can prevent hackers from accessing these details. But HTTP is unable to provide full-proof security.
SEO advantages of HTTPS
Ecommerce sites are quick to follow Google’s recommendation for security but other sites might need a good reason to switch to HTTPS. While security is the first reason for opting for HTTPS, it can also help in SEO in the long run.
Improved search engine rankings
Search ranking has nothing to do with HTTPS as it is more a technical feature than a marketing element. But you should know that when a visitor visits your website, he believes that yours is a secure site. Also you should keep Google’s push for HTTPS. It might change its algorithm anytime in favor of HTTPS sites to provide safe and secure options to its visitors.
Here is an example how HTTPS can impact your SEO. Having HTTPS makes Google Analytics more useful as the security data that referred the site is saved. In other words, the referral sources won’t be just direct traffic. For SEO, it is certainly an advantage.
Security and Privacy
HTTPS provide advance security to website owners and the visitors. On the one hand, the webmasters can have peace of mind that their data is 100% safe, the visitors won’t have any hesitation in making financial transactions with the sites.
The process of switching to HTTPS
Migrating a website from basic HTTP to secure HTTPS is a straightforward system
- Get SSL certificate
- Incorporate the SSL certificate on hosting account
- Double check all the links on the site. URLs not updated to HTTPS will be shown as broken after migration is complete
- Set up 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS to notify search engines. This way the visitors will be directed to the secure pages
HTTPS isn’t only for security but also for SEO. It might not be beneficial in near future but it can have long term impact for your website and its ranking and reliability. Visitors will find your website reliable and the reliability will certainly increase your visibility. Also Google could change its algorithm to push HTTPS. It has already indicated that it wants HTTPS everywhere and that no site should be left without SSL security cover.
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