At We Do Web Content, we’ve been advising our clients to secure their websites by switching to HTTPS to build trust, security, and increase rankings. Search Engine Journal recently posted a great article showing some top brands using HTTPS and how it can be helpful for your law firm or small business website.
So is HTTPS worth it? Let’s take a look at the basics and benefits of this web protocol.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is a type of web encryption protocol that facilitates the transfer of data from the website server to your browser when you click a link or type in a URL.
The biggest difference between the common HTTP and HTTPS is the secure part. Data transferred through HTTPS is more secure than HTTP sites, especially when it comes to credit card information and passwords.
HTTPS and Security
HTTPS is mostly known for being an industry standard for websites handling sensitive data and monetary transactions. Your internet banking and shopping sites have been using HTTPS for years to secure your transactions.
Of course, no single security protocol can prevent all types of vulnerabilities, but HTTPS makes websites harder to access.
“Security is a top priority for Google,” says SEO expert Jason Hennessey. “Too much data is being compromised on an unsecure web. That’s why they started to use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in their search ranking algorithms. By publicly making it a small ranking signal, they finally incentivized and motivated thousands of companies, both large and small, to start adopting SSL on their website. While it’s certainly not a large signal, I highly encourage everyone reading this to purchase an SSL certificate and get it implemented sooner rather than later.”
HTTPS and SEO
Surprisingly, HTTPS is finding a new popular niche in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Back in 2014, Google announced they would begin using HTTPS compliance as a ranking feature for search results.
When Google made its announcement, Cyrus Shepard of Moz noted only 4.2 percent of the 10,000 highest ranked websites were using HTTPS as their default protocol. Two years later, a new report from Moz revealed 30 percent of all websites are defaulting to HTTPS.
The connection between HTTPS and search rankings is simple: Google considers websites that use HTTPS to be more trustworthy and secure than HTTP sites. There is a bit of effort that goes into making a site HTTPS compliant, and going through that process shows Google that you are committed to a secure and trustworthy web experience for visitors.
Google’s goal with search results is to return the best answers to searchers’ queries, giving them the information they need without risk to their device or personal information. HTTPS helps facilitate that transaction.
Another positive benefit of HTTPS is the clarity it provides to your analytics report. Under HTTP, all traffic looks like direct traffic, leaving you clueless as to which lead sources are doing the best for your marketing. HTTPS clarifies your referral data and lets you see who is sending the most clients your way.
Getting Started with HTTPS
Transitioning your website to HTTPS is more than just flipping a switch.
First, you need a secure certificate verifying your website follows the internet security standards. These certificates can cost anywhere from $149 to $745 per year from security sites.
The alternative is Let’s Encrypt, a pro-HTTPS group that provides security certificates for free. The catch is, you have to renew your certificate every 90 days or face having your website greet visitors with a security warning saying your certificate is out of date.
Setting up HTTPS is much easier when starting a website from scratch, as the structure of your site can make or break your site speed under HTTPS.
Existing sites have run into trouble switching to HTTPS if their site is not set up properly and already running slow. Web sites with a large amount of content are also harder to switch over while preserving the integrity of the files and structure.
Let We Do Web Content Help You Gain the HTTPS SEO Boost
It’s important to have a trusted and knowledgeable webmaster to help you make the change. At WDWC our team can work with you on making development changes promptly.
Contact us at 888-521-3880 for a free audit. Let us show you some small changes that can make impactful results.