Two years back, Google officially announced that switching your website to HTTPS could give a minor ranking boost. No wonder Google has taken a strict stance to protect the privacy of their consumers. And ever since the tide has been turning, the marketers have gone into frenzy. More and more websites are switching from HTTP to HTTPS.
Most of the companies go with the flow. If Google says you should do it, then they just follow. However, it is important to understand the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, the right way to make the switch, and is it actually necessary to make the switch?
What is HTTP-Understanding the basics
Hypertext Transfer Protocol helps in transmitting and receiving information across the Internet. It focuses on how information is presented to the user. As it is said to be “stateless”, it does not remember anything about the previous web session. The benefits of being stateless are that there is less data to send and increase speed. It is generally used to access HTML pages. The websites, which do not house any confidential information, can setup their websites on HTTP.
What is HTTPS-knowing inside out?
Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol helps in allowing authorization and secured transactions. As exchanging confidential information needs to be secured to prevent unauthorized access, website owner switch to HTTPS. In many ways both the protocols are similar, however HTTPS offer an extra layer of security because it uses SSL to move data.
Advantages to switching to HTTPS- SEO point of view
Increased rankings: it is one of the obvious points as Google has confirmed the slight ranking boost of the secured websites. Though the boost will be a minor one, but this is still something to keep in mind. Moreover, the value of switching to HTTPS is likely to increase over time. For example: if you run a big site, even a small boost in SEO result definitely made sense. However, if you have just started, you are not going to see a real difference in your search traffic.
Referral data: when traffic passes to an HTTPS site, the secure referral information is preserved. However, when the traffic passes through an HTTP site, it simply gets stripped away and looks as if it “direct”.
Security and privacy: HTTPS can add security for the SEO goals and website in several different ways:
Third parties are restricted from tampering the data.
It makes the site more secure for the visitors.
It simply encrypts all communication including URLs, protecting browsing history, credit card numbers and other confidential data.
If you just have a blog and you do not need much information from your users, you probably do not need HTTPS for security reasons; however, if you accept payments or important personal information for any reason, you need HTTPS.
Challenges with HTTPS
Mistakes are common: moving your entire site to HTTPS from HTTP can be difficult. Most of the people overlook the important details such as blocking important URLs in robots.txt, pointing your canonical tags at wrong URL, restraining warnings that can frighten people away.
Speed issues: moving to HTTPS can slower down the website. Slower website can have harsh affect on website ranking. One needs to use different technologies to enhance the speed.
Costs: many webmasters pay a lot of amount for certification. However, there are many opportunities where one can easily switch to the secured protocol for free.
HTTPS is not going anywhere
HTTPS is about adding a security layer to your website. If not now, you have to make the switch at some point in the future if you want your site to stay relevant and competitive. If you want to look for implementing a strong SEO strategy, then a switch is a must. There are many companies that provide switching to HTTPS as a part of their affordable SEO packages. So have you already made the move or are you planning to do it soon? Let us know in the comments below.