Customers surf the worldwide web every day without thinking much about those few letters behind the backlashes and the www-dots. However, those combinations of letters, HTTP and HTTPS, are incredibly important, and it matters which one you choose to use with your website. So, what exactly are HTTP and HTTPS? Well, for starters, HTTP stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol,” while HTTPS stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure.” Both of these acronyms represent applications that allow users of the internet to access to documents and other information supported by HTML, or HyperText Markup Language. Basically, what you can take away from this is that HTTP and HTTPS help you get where you’re going when you’re surfing the web or conducting business online.
So, the next question is, “which one is better?” This question is easy to answer; it’s HTTPS. HTTP and HTTPS are virtually the same thing, but HTTPS is, you guessed it, more secure. It is able to provide this extra layer of security because it uses SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, when it moves data. This means that when potential customers visit your site in search of products or services, the information that they send to you and the information that you send back to them is encrypted and therefore well protected by the HTTPS encryption algorithm. This is absolutely the best way to conduct your business. Not only does it provide your customers with a better, more secure experience, but it provides them with the assurance that they can trust you. With all the options out there today, customers have the option of taking their business elsewhere if they feel like, should they input their information into a form, it could be compromised or stolen. This is why, again, you should choose HTTPS for your website. It not only protects the data of your customers, but it safeguards the success of your business as well.
Another major reason that you should work with HTTPS is that fact that it is preferred by the giant known as Google. This is especially important for those using a website for marketing and SEO purposes, as Google is the gateway to customers. Google places so much value on HTTPS that it even now uses it as a ranking signal. Speaking of SEO, let’s go over a few advantages you and your SEO work will gain when you switch to HTTPS.
- Your Rankings Will Increase
According to Google, those that switch from HTTP sites to HTTPS sites see an initial slight increase in their rankings. In additions, data analysis tells us definitively that HTTPS sites, on average, have higher rankings than HTTP-URL’s. Take note that, while you may find it difficult to quantify, after you switch to HTTPS, your the ranking of your website will likely continue to increase over time.
- Referrer Data from Your Visitors is Preserved and Protected
Referrer data is, in essence, that information concerning where traffic originates, when it passes through a site. This data is used by websites and web servers to determine from where people are visiting them, so that they can either, one, tailor their advertising and promotions to them, or, two, simply record the data for statistical purposes. This data passes through HTTP sites and HTTPS sites differently. First, when visitors pass through a HTTP site, their referral information is sent directly and unencrypted. This is problematic for obvious reasons, but, not to worry because, as you may have already guessed, a switch to a HTTPS site will remedy this issue. HTTPS sites, like HTTP sites, provide referral data, but unlike HTTP sites, they do so while keeping it secure.
- Better Privacy and Security
Beyond the basic idea of encryption that we outlined earlier, there are several ways in which HTTPS provides privacy and security for your website and SEO goals. Let’s take a look at them in bullet points.
- It stops third parties from tampering with data.
- It authenticates a website, making sure that that website is the one with which the server is meant to be communicating.
- It encrypts ALL communication on your website, including URLS, thereby protecting information like credit card numbers and browsing history.
- It makes your site more secure for your visitors.
If you wish to stay relevant and well-ranked by Google and you wish to provide a safe and positive online experience for your users, you really have no other option but to switch to HTTPS. One thing we do recommend is that, if and when you make the switch, you inform Google of the update. That way, they will begin boosting your rankings more quickly. So, don’t wait! Switch to HTTPS today.