HTTPS is about security and encryption, but does it have anything to do with SEO? If your website doesn’t have HTTPS, your web address will start with HTTP. Can you improve your rankings by upgrading to HTTPS?
What is HTTPS?
This isn’t a technical article, but HTTPS basically means that your website is secure. Specifically, it means that encryption technology protects the information transmitted between the server hosting your website and the website browsers your visitors use to access your site.
Is HTTPS Important to SEO?
Let’s first look at Google itself. Its Search Console is a tool you can use to manage your website in Google search. Search Console includes several guidelines aimed at helping website owners with SEO. Under general guidelines, the second option on the list after the SEO Starter Guide is an article on securing your website with HTTPS.
Who knows if it’s a coincidence that Google placed this article above articles on URL structure, duplicate content, and links. What we do know, however, is that most experts believe that HTTPS is important for SEO. Google’s actions back this up.
Statements from Google
Google has said in the past that HTTPS is one of the factors it uses to rank websites on search results pages. It did qualify this by describing it as a "lightweight" factor, but it has also said that HTTPS could potentially be the deciding factor in a tie break situation between two websites.
Actions by Users
Google doesn’t just look at your website when it is giving it a ranking – it also looks at how users interact with your website. After all, Google wants to send searchers to the best possible page. Therefore, it looks for indications as to whether or not it was successful in achieving this goal.
As not having HTTPS on your website could result in a negative response from users, your rankings could be impacted. For example, the vast majority of internet users will only buy products from websites that are secure. In addition, Google’s own browser, Chrome, explicitly tells people visiting websites without HTTPS that the site is Not Secure.
It’s also easy for savvy internet users to see which websites on a search results page have HTTPS and those that don’t. This may influence their decision to click… and provide an indication to Google that they don’t like or trust your site.
SEO-Related Research on HTTPS
Independent research into Google’s search engine rankings has also found that HTTPS is usually connected to better SEO performance.
Putting the SEO Question to One Side, HTTPS is Good Practice Anyway
With all this discussion about SEO, it’s also important to remember the main purpose of HTTPS. It is about securing the personal information of your website users.
Many business owners don’t believe they have a problem with this as they don’t sell anything on their website. However, do you have a contact form or a lead generation form on your site? Do you ask website users to sign up for your newsletter?
These are just some of the common features that appear on many business websites that result in users sending their personal information to you. Good practice involves taking the necessary steps to protect that information.
Plus, implementing HTTPS on your website is not expensive. With the help of your SEO company in Auckland or your website developer, it’s not a difficult process either.
So, the main recommendation or takeaway from this is that you should implement HTTPS on your website. Doing so will also help with SEO.