Working towards a web that is secure by default has been the motto of Google because secure web connection is what every user wants. Nobody wants to click on any website that appears less secure as it is now easy to make out from the URL whether it is a secured or unprotected website. You must have seen the marks HTTP or HTTPS precede the URL on display. Hypertext Transport Protocol Security or HTTP used to be the norm for all websites but as Google kept emphasizing the need for secured sites by default the letter S found its place in the display which denotes secure website. Therefore, when you log on to an HTTP website you are connecting to an unprotected webpage and your connection is not secured thereby exposing you to various cyber risks.
On the other hand, HTTPS websites have robust security features in place like SSL-2048 bit key and keep any site connection protected through authentication and encryption. SSL certificates are installed on web servers that activate the padlock icon in the browser search box together with the https protocol thereby ensuring secure connections from a web browser to any server. As Google is committed to providing the best user experience, it is normal that it insists on protecting the connections of users by ensuring that websites stick to the https protocol.
Secure websites obtain information from users in three different layers to protect their connection. The transmitted data remains encrypted so that it is not possible to track neither the user activity nor access information. Data integrity ensures that there is no chance of file corruption during transfer and authentication helps to build user trust and protect against attacks.
Impact of HTTPS on SEO
- Insecure websites would drive away users who prefer to browse only secured sites to enjoy a worry-free experience as their connection remains protected. Almost 84% of users prefer logging on to https websites which means that not having a secure site could cost your business dearly.
- Loading time of https websites are much less than HTTP websites, and since the speed of sites is a ranking factor, secured sites fare better in search rankings. You have the advantage of ranking better with https website.
- If you look at the organic rankings of Google, you would observe that 40% of websites on the list are https websites which shows its close relation to search rankings.
- Since 2014 Google has included HTTPS as a ranking signal which has encouraged more websites to adopt https protocol.
Let us now look into the impact of https websites on SEO by focusing on the areas of ranking, traffic, and conversions.
HTTPS and Ranking
It has been four years since Google rolled out an algorithm update in 2014 to declare its favor for HTTPS websites. In the beginning, the impact of https websites on ranking was negligible, but there was some impact no doubt. Minor ranking increases happened for https websites at that time. However, Google had indicated there was a possibility of strengthening the signal in the future.
Things started changing from 2015 when Google declared that in the event two websites matched each other on all parameters used to evaluate its merit, then the https website would be at an advantage due to the ranking boost it enjoys. It clearly pointed to the fact that Google gives more weight to https websites no matter how well HTTP websites prepare for better ranks.
If you look at a SERP today, you will find that the first page of search results contains 40% https websites. Moreover, these websites follow the best practices of Google and SEO which contributed to their ranking. Therefore, it is now a fact that if you are keen to follow the best practices, you must first convert your website into https.
Drive More Traffic
It seems that creating an https website is an easier way to earn the trust of search engines and emulate the success of high ranking websites that helps to cement a place on the first page of search results. Once your website is on the first page, it would attract viewers much more and the traffic generated would also be high. Moreover, when viewers see that you have a secure website, they would automatically feel like connecting to it, and when they discover other merits like the excellent content, they will not hesitate to click on the link.
Once the website receives high traffic, you can use the guidance of a professional SEO company like Joel House Search Media to ensure better SEO results.
More traffic means more leads, and you have to make use of the opportunity to improve conversions that open the gateway for consumers engaging with your business closely. By using the advantage of ranking better with https website and following the best practices, you can bolster your marketing activities. As secured sites drive more traffic and users place more trust in it for safe browsing experience, you have to learn how to gain SEO mileage from it. The more you can make visitors feel safe and comfortable in browsing your website, easier it will win their trust and convince them to take some affirmative action that spells business.
Labeling of Unsecured Websites
Users can figure out by looking at the URL whether the site is secure or not. While secured websites display a padlock icon to assure users about its safety, unsecured websites are conspicuous by its absence. These sites only show HTTP and not HTTPS in the URL. Eventually, if things work out as planned, Chrome will henceforth use a distinct red triangle to identify unsecured websites, and it will carry a warning that the website is not secure.
It is essential to make your website secured because the more time you take to update it, more will be the set back in competition. The cost of delaying could be much more than you expect because the competition on the web is getting intense every minute.