Post: Why HTTPS Is Essential for Your Website’s Security and SEO


The Importance of Securing Your Website with HTTPS

In today’s digital world, the security of your online presence is of utmost importance. One way to ensure that hackers or other malicious individuals cannot access sensitive information transmitted between you and your website visitors is by implementing HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). This protocol protects data such as passwords, emails, credit card numbers, VOIP calls, and instant messages by encrypting it before it is sent over the internet.

Using HTTPS on your website provides several benefits, including enhanced security, better search engine rankings, and increased trust among users. Let’s look at each of these benefits in more detail.

Improved Security for You and Your Visitors

When a site uses HTTPS, any data transmitted between the server and the user is encrypted, making it extremely difficult for malicious individuals to intercept and decipher this information. For example, if someone enters their password “gerard28” on a site using HTTPS, an attacker attempting to intercept the data would only see something like “hqbxkTzda.” Without encryption provided by HTTPS, sensitive data such as passwords would be exposed in plain text and easily accessible to potential attackers.

To check if a website uses HTTPS, simply look at the top left corner of your browser window; if there is a small padlock icon present, the site is secured using HTTPS. On the other hand, if you see a triangle with a “Not secure” message, the site is still using the less secure HTTP protocol.

Better Search Engine Rankings

Google has explicitly stated that HTTPS is one of its ranking factors since 2014, meaning websites secured with this protocol are favored in its search algorithm. Although the result may not be immediate, websites with HTTPS will gradually see an improvement in search engine ranking as Google continues to emphasize web security.

John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, clarifies this point by stating, “I wouldn’t expect any visible changes when you switch from HTTP to HTTPS, just from that change for ranking reasons. It’s not something where you’d see a ranking boost just from switching from HTTP to HTTPS.”

Increased Trust Among Users

Apart from improved SEO and security, another significant benefit of HTTPS is the increased trust it instills among website visitors. Most modern browsers prominently warn users if they’re visiting a site that lacks SSL certification, potentially deterring them from engaging with your content or opting out of transactions on an e-commerce site.

The use of HTTPS conveys a sense of credibility and professionalism, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and better user retention.

Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS and Potential Risks

If you’re considering making the switch from HTTP to HTTPS, there are some potential risks and challenges to keep in mind. Here are a few key areas to address during the migration process:

  • Canonicalization/Redirection Issues: When transitioning to HTTPS, it’s crucial to ensure that every version of your website correctly redirects to the desired HTTPS destination. This includes non-www and www versions of your domain to avoid dilution of your crawling budget and prevent potential duplicate content issues.
  • Crawling Budget Considerations: Switching to HTTPS can double the number of pages that Google needs to crawl, particularly for websites with large numbers of pages. To remedy this, implement correct canonical tags pointing back to the https version of your content and follow best practices for optimizing your site’s crawl budget.

Despite these challenges, transitioning to HTTPS is well worth the effort. Not only will it improve your website’s overall security and user experience, but it can also contribute positively to your SEO strategy. If you’re in the process of creating a new website, implementing from the start ensures you’ll never have to deal with HTTP-related migration issues down the line. Encrypting the communication between your server and your users with HTTPS goes a long way in building trust and credibility with your online audience – don’t let this critical aspect of your digital presence fall by the wayside.