Differences Between HTTP and HTTPS and the Significance of HTTPS to SEO

Data breaches and privacy leaks are the new normal. Users are not tolerating this trend, and neither is Google. No wonder Google is taking strict security measures to protect users’ data and privacy. Google has always viewed security issues with a lot of concern. To Google, security is a top priority. Google expects website owners to follow suit and ensure they protect users’ data and privacy.

In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS websites would rank higher than HTTP websites in the search engine results pages. The move was primarily meant to ensure that website owners adopt the HTTPS protocol to secure connections. You are probably asking yourself- So do I implement the HTTPS protocol for higher rankings? Is it for my good or the good of my visitors? This article enlightens you on HTTP vs HTTPS and their significance in Search Engine Optimization.

  • Understanding the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS

In your interaction with the internet, you might have come across both HTTPS and HTTP websites. It is crucial that you understand the two and how they come about. It can be hard to switch from one protocol to another if you do not know what they are.

HTTP is an abbreviation for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is an application layer protocol that allows for data transfer and information between web servers and web browsers. Its primary focus is on how the communication will be portrayed to a user.

It does not pay attention to how the information will move from one point to another. Most websites that did not hold confidential information like credit card and debit card details used this protocol because security was not a priority. For this reason, HTTP experienced a lot of data breaches until HTTPS was developed as a remedy. 

HTTPS is an abbreviation that stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is the secure version of HTTP. It was developed to allow complete encryption of transactions, communications, and data transfers between website browsers and website servers. To prevent hackers, intruders, and unauthorized sources from accessing information, encryption of the said information is required.

HTTPS uses an SSL certificate that surrounds the data and prevents intruders from reaching the communication. It is the SSL certificate that will provide an extra layer of protection for the data in transit. The communication is scrambled into undecipherable gibberish. Only the intended recipient who bears the correct key to decrypt the information will understand it.

  • Understanding SEO and the Factors Affecting It

A well-researched Search Engine Optimization strategy can be a game-changer in the generation of leads and improving ranks in the search engine results pages. SEO provides low-hanging fruit opportunities that every website owner can reap and partake of high rankings’ easy money in the search engines. It takes much to come up with an impeccable SEO strategy. 

By definition, Search Engine Optimization refers to the process, tools, and techniques employed in making a website easier to find on the search engines. A sound SEO strategy is a vital asset that helps define a path of expected outcomes and generate maximum returns. One of the essential factors that Google will be looking at to rank your website is HTTPS. Let us now narrow it down to HTTP vs HTTPS in SEO and see how significant it is.

  • The Impact of HTTP vs HTTPS in SEO

As I already mentioned, user privacy and security are an essential part of SEO. In 2015, Google announced that HTTPS websites would rank higher than HTTP websites in Search Engine results pages. Since the announcement, marketers and website owners have found a reason to strengthen their security walls by installing an SSL certificate. Purchasing an SSL certificate is a Search Engine Optimization strategy. 

Apart from directly increasing your ranks in the SERPs, HTTPS also gives general implications for digital marketing to contribute to positive SEO. For instance, the fact that your web visitors trust your website and are assured of safety will most probably share your website with friends and visit repetitively. This improves the dwell time, reduces bounce rates, and increases the number of backlinks. All these play a crucial part in the SEO of your website. 

Webmasters across the world continue to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS. Most are after improving their ranks in the search engine results pages. The trend is encouraging for the internet community as nothing pleases users and website owners to know that their connection is secure.

To add more weight to this aspect, Google announced that HTTPS would be used as a tie-breaker when two or more websites had equalled all the other ranking factors. Ever since the two announcements were made, studies have revealed a positive correlation between HTTPS and high rankings in the Search Engines Results Pages.

If you wish to beat your competitors in search engines, you should consider HTTPS to HTTP migration. It is a cost-saving and effective SEO strategy. 

  • HTTPS vs Other Ranking Factors 

Although switching to HTTPS is a must-do SEO ranking factor, it is considered a frivolous factor. Do not expect to be at the top in the SERPs by just installing an SSL certificate. It does not work this way. Other significant SEO ranking factors need to be considered if you have to achieve your desired ranks. 

HTTPS is a factor that carries less weight compared to other ranking factors such as high-quality website content, proper website design, site’s mobile friendliness, the age of the domain, the speed of the website, links, and the general user experience. 

You should not expect to achieve high rankings in search engines by only migrating to HTTPS. It only works well when all the other ranking factors are incorporated.

  • Benefits of Switching to HTTPS

Apart from just SEO purposes, other benefits come with switching to HTTPS. The following are some of the benefits of switching to HTTPS;

  1. HTTPS websites give users confidence when transacting or communicating with you. Your clients will have peace of mind that all the information they are sharing with you is safe. 
  2. Switching to an HTTPS website will help you increase your conversion rates. 
  3. HTTP websites are marked “not secure” Switching to HTTPS can help eliminate such errors. 
  4. HTTPS is associated with increased website security.
  5. Switching to HTTPS will help your website rise through the ranks in search engine results pages.

Conclusion

Even though HTTPS does not carry a lot of weight compared to other ranking factors, ensuring that you have it will help you outshine your competitors. Furthermore, it would be best to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS for SEO purposes; you will also receive numerous benefits outlined in this article. It does not take much, all you need is to acquire and install an SSL certificate, and you are done.

Reference Sources

  1. https://raddinteractive.com/the-impact-of-http-vs-https-in-seo/
  2. https://dynomapper.com/blog/21-sitemaps-and-seo/415-http-or-https%EF%BF%BEusing-an-ssl-is-great-for-security-and-for
  3. https://seo.london/does-an-ssl-certificate-help-seo/
  4. https://www.google.com/amp/s/neilpatel.com/blog/does-a-ssl-certificate-affect-your-seo-a-data-driven-answer/amp/
  5. https://seopressor.com/blog/http-vs-https/
  6. https://optinmonster.com/seo-ranking-factors/
  7. https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2014/08/26/chart-the-biggest-data-breaches-in-u-s-history/#3254d88d7735
  8. https://transparencyreport.google.com/https/overview?hl=en