Your website is your mouthpiece for your audience, and it is essential to send out the right message to your audience. Remember that your target market is tech-savvy and would prefer to visit only safe websites with SSL certificate to gather information. Internet security is a significant factor that businesses must consider.
There are still several websites that are on the HTTP platform, which is known to be insecure. All you have to do is move your website to the HTTPS platform by installing an SSL certificate. What are the other aspects of understanding this difference – HTTP vs. HTTPS? Search engines are also using HTTPS as a parameter during keyword search rankings. This article will discuss more on this aspect and how it can affect SEO in 2021.
The Difference – HTTP vs. HTTPS
With a website being attacked every 39 seconds, you must secure your website’s communication with the visitors. The websites using the HTTP protocol are susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks where any hacker can access this interaction. These attacks can lead to hackers stealing any sensitive personal information of the visitors.
The HTTPS protocol uses a security layer through an SSL certificate by encrypting the browser’s interactions if the visitor and the webserver. There is a private-public key combination that prevents any unauthorized entity from gaining access to this interaction. Visitors look for the padlock that indicates that the website is safe for browsing.
SSL as a Google ranking factor
Search engines like Google have a mission to provide a safe internet to their users. In line with its mission, Google released a new update in 2014, mentioning that a safe internet was its priority.
As a strategy, they looked forward to ensuring that people visit secure sites through the Google search engine. It was the HTTPS Everywhere update and gave webmasters time to move to the HTTPS platform.
Google themselves send encrypted traffic – practising what they were preaching. It is currently being used as a lightweight parameter to rank websites during search rankings. We will now have an overview of the key benefits of using HTTPS for SEO.
Key SEO Benefits of Using HTTPS
A better user experience
It is essential to have engaging content on your site. It prevents an increase in bounce rate and ensures that your website is ranked higher during search rankings. Again, browsers are quick to warn non-HTTPS sites as “Not Secure.” On the contrary, visitors would move away from such sites once they see the site is flagged.
An HTTPS site will increase confidence in the minds of the visitors. Now, imagine you are running an e-commerce site. Such websites must adhere to the PCI-DSS guidelines, and it will be damaging for their business if visitors abandon them for being an insecure site.
HTTPS sites load faster
Your website must be fast to load; else visitors will abandon your site readily. Research shows that an increase in web page loading time by 1 – 3 seconds will enhance the bounce rate by around 32%. HTTPS websites are known to be faster, and it gives an immense advantage during SEO.
Always keep in mind that installing an SSL certificate can also make your site load faster. It will allow you to use HTTP/2 that will make your site run more quickly. The server and browser can receive and request several web elements with a single connection. This reduces latency and allows for faster interactions.
Provides correct SEO reports
An accurate SEO report will help the marketing team to assess their strategies’ effectiveness. They can also utilize them to make tweaks to their SEO strategy. Now, are you aware that you will not receive accurate reports if your site is still on HTTP?
The SEO reports will not show the referral traffic if the site is on HTTP. The SEO team will not understand how much traffic came from organic search, ads, or social media. To view accurate reports, you must migrate to HTTPS. Otherwise, you will only see that you have too much direct traffic.
Accelerated Mobile Pages need HTTPS
An essential SEO best practice is to have a responsive website. The website must load quickly on smartphones, and the pages must be optimized too. Search engines like Google have mentioned that optimization for mobile will be a significant factor for SEO.
It can be done using Accelerated Mobile Pages (Or AMPS). It allows the page to load quickly on mobile phones, and the page is optimized so that it can display easily. However, one of the prerequisites is that the websites must be on HTTPS. Google considers being responsive as well as website security as the cornerstones during ranking.
How to Move to HTTPS Without Losing Your Traffic?
Search engines like Google back websites that are on HTTPS. You must first decide the validation before you buy SSL certificate you will need. Once you have installed the certificate, always remember to make the HTTPS site the default one. You must auto-redirect the HTTP to the HTTPS site.
It would be best to allow all the web pages to be indexed and enable them to be crawled using robots.txt. Always remember to add the HTTPS property to the Google Search Console. Also, replace any external backlinks that were pointing to the earlier HTTP version.
It is also essential to carry out the migration properly. There could be cases of mixed content if there are problems while migrating to HTTPS. It can happen if some images, stylesheets, or videos are loaded through an insecure HTTP connection. As a result, your website can still be shown as an insecure website.
How to check your HTTPS security?
It becomes necessary to check if your site is secure and the SSL installation is done correctly. The best option is to check the padlock on the address bar. Also, check if all the versions, viz., HTTPS://, https://www, etc., are directed to the HTTPS site.
You can also use the Lighthouse browser plugin that will do an audit of the site as a whole and mention if it uses HTTPS. The Google Transparency Report can also help to check for any unsafe content. The MozBar browser extension can help you check whether your site is sending HTTPS pages.
Businesses are always looking for newer avenues for growth. One of the best practices of SEO 2021 is to move your site to HTTPS. It will help your site to garner brownie points in several ways. Firstly, HTTPS is a lightweight parameter for SEO. Moreover, visitors move away from insecure sites.
All you have to do is to procure an SSL certificate as per your needs and follow simple steps to install it. The padlock on the address bar against your website URL can mean a lot for your business.