Can Migrating To HTTPs Change The SEO Landscape?
by Al Gomez
Not so long ago, Google indirectly imposed that websites should migrate from HTTP to HTTPs. Why did I say indirectly? Although they did not announce that it is a requirement for websites, they confirmed that HTTPs or SSL sites can boost ranking.
This is no longer a surprise; however, there are still websites that remain skeptical about migrating their website to HTTPs. In fact, Built With revealed that only 0.1% percent of websites use SSL by default.
Yes, you read it right. Not even 1% of the websites worldwide are ready to use HTTPs. This is a sad fact considering that there is a huge possibility at sooner or later SSL certificates or HTTPS may change the SEO landscape.
So to encourage you, keep on reading to find out why you need to move and why it really matters in SEO.
Why The Need To Move?
A good online experience will help you understand why your website has to switch to Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
For starters, it provides a secure connection to users. When users share their information on a website, hijackers can no longer steal information since HTTPs secure all information when transmitted from webs server to browser and vice versa.
Google also shared the 3 layers of data protection using HTTPs.
- Encryption – Protects data from eavesdroppers.
- Data Integrity – Protects from being modified or corrupted during transfer.
- Authentication – Protects Man-in-the-middle attacks and builds user’s trust.
If these reasons are not yet enough for you to switch to a more secure HTTPs, let’s take a look at how it can affect SEO.
Impact On SEO
As I have mentioned above, Google considers HTTPs as a ranking signal. That is as important in SEO as it can be. If you try to search on Google, you’ll notice that the most, if not all, results are already in HTTPs.
Not convinced yet? These might convince you to keep on reading.
Faster Loading Speed
A survey from Kissmetrics reported that 40% of users will abandon a website if it takes more than 2 seconds to load. In the modern SEO, page speed is critical.
With HTTPs, your website can load faster than HTTP websites. We tried to test them out ourselves via httpvshttps and here’s what we got.
(Disclaimer: This is merely representation to compare page loading speed of http vs https, we don’t validate nor we refute the accuracy of the test conducted on this website.)
We tried several times after that and there was never a chance that HTTP is faster than HTTPs. How is that so when HTTPs require more steps and includes a more complicated process of transmitting data?
There are no concrete answers but from what it may seem, you are definitely losing a lot of opportunities if you stick to lower loading speed.
Trust Among Users
Google has started tagging HTTP websites as unsecured since October 2017. With consumers getting more particular in their security, it is not a good impression to see your website as unsecured when users decide to visit. A survey revealed 84% of users will abandon a purchase if data was sent over an unsecure connection.
In a Chrome web browser, the “not secure” or “secure” tag is very apparent. This kind of tags is a signal of trust and authority. It could be their decisive point on whether they abandon your website and click back to search results or they’ll continue exploring your site.
Special Treatment On SERPs
Whether we like it or not, secure sites get a special treatment on SERPs. Though the current effect of HTTPs in ranking pages is very minor, Google is more likely to strengthen it as they are more focus on security.
In a teamed up study made by Backlinko SEMrush, Ahrefs, SimilarWeb and MarketMuse, they found out that HTTPs is moderately correlated to higher rankings.
Facing The Challenges
Switching your site to HTTPS is not without headaches. In fact, you will be faced with lots of technical problems. You need careful planning and lots of patience in migrating your website to HTTPs.
Here are some issues you may face.
Redirects could be a major headache. As you switch your website to HTTPs you have to deal with redirects. You may need to look over and over again at your subpages and examine deeply the rules to avoid issues.
Moreover, if you are planning to switch your website to HTTPs, you need to be prepared for several cleanups, restructuring and redesigning. Ask the help of your web professionals if you have to.
Security Matters In SEO
Security is no doubt Google’s focus right now. As it continues its campaign to encourage all website owners to make their website secure, you could expect a lot of changes in the SEO landscape.
You need be proactive and listen to what this search engine giant demands from you. It could be a doubting task but one is for sure, it is for the best of the users.
Although the current impact of HTTPs/SSL is not really overwhelming, you have to be prepared as Google might just surprise you. So don’t wait for Google to force you to switch, act now and be prepared for the future of SEO.
March 12, 2018