HTTPS can ensure a secure connection between users and the website they are visiting. Currently, all major browsers will prompt an insecurity warning for non-HTTPS web pages. These non-HTTPS-enabled sites mean that the data users send to the site, such as passwords and email addresses, can be intercepted by hackers/criminals. This article will cover what HTTPS is, and how HTTPS affects SEO.
HTTP vs HTTPS
When you type the URL into the browser, the browser asks for the site’s IP address, such as 18.104.22.168. This number is the actual address of the site server. When the browser connects to that IP, this is all done in the visible, without any encryption, and everyone can intercept this traffic. Therefore, when a user logs into a site connected via HTTP, the entered data (username and password) will be sent in plain text, which is very insecure. Think what would happen if you connected to a bank website in this way?
HTTPS, on the other hand, secures this process, encrypting the connection between the browser and the site, ensuring that no one can intercept the data sent between the two. In addition to securing the web, HTTPS is also required for sites that want to upgrade to the new, more secure, and faster HTTP/2 protocol. HTTP/2 contains many new features and technologies that make websites load faster.
How does HTTPS affect SEO?
In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS would be a ranking factor, and using an SSL certificate would give sites a slight boost in ranking. But it’s not just about rankings, it’s about user experience and gaining customer trust. Not only that, but HTTPS is required in nearly every innovation of the internet – from performance optimization techniques to progressive web applications – and this innovation will only increase over time. We inevitably have to migrate to a full HTTPS website. Therefore, websites should switch to HTTPS sooner rather than later.
In 2018, with the release of version 68 of the Chrome browser, Google started marking all HTTP sites as “insecure”. Several other browsers followed. When users see this “unsafe” warning, a large number of users must choose to close the page, which will greatly increase the bounce rate of website traffic and have a great negative impact on SEO.
Don’t forget, it’s easy to scare off website visitors!
If you use a WordPress website, in WordPress 5.7, upgrading HTTPS has become very simple, as long as the server environment and SSL certificate are deployed, you can migrate to HTTPS with one click.
SSL certificate highly recommended: Free Let’s Encrypt certificate (wildcard support).