You might have heard people recommending you to switch your website to HTTPS. They quote Google’s announcement that HTTPS is a ranking signal and that failure to switch could mean your ranking will take a hit. So it’s that simple, right?
If Google says do it, then let’s do it, and that’s what most people do. However, it’s still important to understand what’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, how to make the switch, and whether making the switch is right for your company in the first place.
Ultimately, it’s important to ask yourself several questions:
1. Why does Google prefer HTTPS for SEO rankings?
2. What are the SEO benefits of HTTPS?
No matter what side you are on – a theme owner or a custom design user with Flothemes —a good online experience tends to involve a trusted third party and good encryption. Actually, it’s not a surprise that Google prefers websites that are trusted and certified (using an SSL). In this way, users are guaranteed that the HTTPS website will encrypt their personal information for that extra level of security. However, you should understand that getting a certificate can be a complex task (which is why it allows for higher ranking benefits).
Say what? When a site goes through the motions of obtaining a certificate, the issuer becomes a trusted third party. When your browser recognizes a secure website, it uses the information in the certificate to verify that the site is what it claims to be. A user who knows the difference between HTTP and HTTPS can now make an online transaction with confidence, since that e-commerce business is trustworthy.
Back to the message in the first paragraph. Google is now using HTTPS as a ranking signal. It is pretty clear from data analysis that HTTPS sites have a ranking advantage over regular HTTP URLs, so this switch will now benefit all companies, that collect confidential information or not.
How switching to HTTPS can help your SEO?
It is clear that HTTPS offers security, so it’s definitely an indicator that can put you in Google’s good graces. There are also some additional SEO benefits for you to consider.
Increase in ranking – that’s the obvious one. As stated, Google has confirmed the slight ranking boost of HTTPS sites. Moreover, the value of switching to HTTPS is very likely to increase over time.
Security and Privacy – HTTPS adds security for your SEO goals and website. Sure, there are limits to this. HTTPS is not like a web application firewall. It’s not going to prevent your website from getting hacked. It’s not going to stop fraudulent emails getting sent, either. In reality, HTTPS is the basic price of security these days. It’s the very minimum you can offer your site visitors. Aside from security, HTTPS also improves trust.
Ready for HTTPS?
Switching to HTTPS is fairly straightforward for smaller websites. For larger websites it’s more complicated, from an SEO perspective, and requires skilled technical expert to make the changes. A lot depend on your hosting provider. Even if the process is straightforward we recommend to use a skilled technical expert to be sure all is redirected and setup properly. In the best case scenario, wrong adaptation of SSL will negatively affect your Google ranking due to duplicated or missing content. In the worst case scenario, it will break your site. Our team at Flothemes can handle it in a few hours, so if you’re planning a switch, send us a message and be sure that your website is in good hands.