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Should I move my website from HTTP to HTTPS?

Posted on 7th June, 2016 by Michael Banks

Search Engine Optimisation, Web Design

Google has been telling website owners for years that switching to HTTPS will give them a minor ranking boost so today we’re going to look at whether switching is a good idea for all business websites or only e-commerce sites. Let’s start off by looking at the basic differences between HTTP and HTTPS

Difference between HTTP and HTTPS

HTTP is the standard protocol for transmitting and receiving information across the internet. Before the days of internet transactions, this was the way that most websites were setup. HTTPS was developed to allow authorisation and secured transactions and this works in conjunction with another protocol, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to transport data safely.

SEO advantages of HTTPS

One of the reasons that Google prefers HTTPS sites is because users can be guaranteed that the site will encrypt their information for an extra level of security. The data sent using HTTPS is secured via Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS) which offers three layers of protection which are:

  • Encryption – Encrypting the exchanged data to keep it secure
  • Data integrity – Data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer without being detected
  • Authentication – Proves that users are communicating with the intended website

 

The main advantages of switching to an HTTPS website from an SEO point of view are:

Increased rankings

Google has confirmed that you can benefit from a slight ranking boost for HTTPS websites. Over time, the benefits of this are likely to increase substantially as Google looks to create a better and more secure user experience.

Security and privacy

Having HTTPS in place on your website adds security and privacy to your website which helps to increase user confidence and trust on your site. Some of the ways that it adds security to your site include:

  • HTTPS prevents tampering by third parties
  • Authentication means users know they are visiting the intended website
  • All communication data is encrypted including browser history and URLS

HTTPS Checklist

Below are some of the top tips for switching to HTTPS and best practices provided by Google.

  • Use the most relevant certificate for your website e.g. single, multi-domain or wildcard
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for all resources and pages on the same secure domain
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines
  • Track your migration in Google Search Console and using analytics software.

Conclusion

While e-commerce websites have HTTPS enabled by default very few informational websites have adopted the practice. With clear ranking and trust benefits, upgrading your website to HTTPS should be on your priority list of website updates.

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