So you have been noticing that a lot of your competition is using HTTPs on their websites. And so you wanted to know if that has an effect on your SEO.
Maybe you are planning to get into a particular niche and wanted to scope out the competition. But you keep seeing that most of them have the same things. And they are ranking on page 1 for their target keywords.
I’m glad you asked that question. And that is exactly what I’m going to answer in this blog post.
We will go into detail about how having HTTPs on your website affects SEO and also some additional reasons why you should spend some extra bucks and get it.
What Is HTTPs?
Every website has what’s called “HTTP.” And when you install an SSL certificate on your server, that changes to HTTPS (Hypertext Transport Protocol Security). This means that the URL that has https is more secure than the URL that only has HTTP.
The SSL 2048-bit key protects the website connection with authentication and encryption.
Typically most internet users were not aware of this until the recent large-scale cyber attacks that led to huge amounts of data being stolen from different companies.
With the SSL certificate, the visitors can be assured that their activity on the website cannot be tracked by any outside parties, nor any of their information will be stolen.
So How Does HTTPS Affect SEO?
Back in 2014, Google rolled out an algorithm update and included website security as one of the ranking factors. And the algorithm was in favor of websites that had SSL certificates installed on them, aka, HTTPS websites.
This was Google’s way of contributing to making the internet a safer place. And back then, it was a ranking factor that even if you ignored it, you would still end up on the first page without any issues.
But in 2015, Google stated that they will be increasing the weight of this ranking factor. Not only that, they also stated that HTTPS could serve as a tie-breaker between you and your competition.
Let’s say that your website and your competitor’s website is equal in terms of speed, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization, etc. but your competitor’s website has HTTPS and yours doesn’t. Then Google is more likely to rank their website ahead of yours.
So how do things look like today?
Well, the statistics show that only 1% of all the websites on the internet are safe today. But more than 40% of the websites ranking in the organic results on page 1 of Google have HTTPS. This means that a lot of website owners are taking this seriously and Google has been giving them a good reason to.
But do remember that the websites ranking on page 1 are also following a lot of Google’s best practices to be there. So just having an HTTPS website alone will not be enough. You will still need to do everything else to ensure that your website ends up on page 1 for good.
But according to the research done by Brian Dean, SEMRush, and Ahrefs, they were able to find a correlation between HTTPS and higher search rankings, but they were all combined with other ranking factors. And they also confirmed what Google had stated earlier that HTTPS would act as a tie breaker but it will not be a major ranking factor. At least not as major as link building.
But having an HTTPS website goes beyond than just adhering to a ranking factor. It also affects the conversions on your website.
How HTTPS Affects Conversions
Even if you just have an opt-in box on your website, visitors are more likely to give their email address if your website has an SSL certificate installed.
A recent survey done by GlobalSign showed that at 84% of the people would abandon a purchase if they found out that their information was sent over an insecure connection. And that is more than just a majority of the people. Imagine if 84% of the people did not make that purchase, or did not choose to subscribe to your newsletter just because your website didn’t have HTTPS.
Your business would end before it could get anywhere.
With and HTTPS website, you can ensure your visitors that they have nothing to worry about. And that their information will be safely handled.
Google Chrome Has Started Labelling Websites As Unsecured
Chrome is also going to start labeling websites that do not have HTTPS as unsecure.
So any website that only has HTTP will look like this:
That doesn’t look so bad, right?
Well, for now, it doesn’t. but very soon Chrome will start labeling all the non-HTTPS websites as non-secure with a red triangle.
And believe me, having a red triangle whenever someone visits your website is not a good sign.
If I’m on a website with that non-secure sign, I wouldn’t enter any of my information in there. And this is very crucial when it comes to eCommerce websites where customers will have to use their credit cards to make payments.
Now that you know how important it is to have HTTPS on your website, let’s find out the top 5 reasons why you absolutely need it.
5 Reasons Why Your Website Should Have HTTPS
Before we get into the reasons, I would like to address a small question that I get asked every now and then.
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL Certificate is a set of files that once you add to your server, you will have an encrypted connection between your browser and your server.
It is this certificate that gives you the green padlock sign on the top left corner of Chrome that lets you know that a particular website is safe.
So What is the Difference Between SSL and HTTPS?
There is no difference between them. It’s because when you installed the SSL certificate on your server, you get the HTTPS status in your browser. It is the result of installing that SSL certificate.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into the top 5 reasons why you need to have an HTTPS website.
- Improved Website Security
Obviously, this is the biggest reason why you should want to have it. You do not want bad people stealing your customer’s information from your website. And with HTTPS, you can prevent that.
And this is the reason why Google announced this as a ranking factor in 2014, to make a better, safer user experience for people.
It makes total sense to keep things safer and secure for everyone.
- Higher Search Rankings in Google
With Google increasing the weight of this ranking factor in 2015 and also making it as a tiebreaker, you want to make sure that you are working on all the important ranking factors that could rank you on page 1 of Google.
- Updated Browser Labels
As I mentioned above, Chrome will be labeling websites that use HTTP as non-secure with a red triangle. And obviously, users will not trust your website if they see that. That trust is crucial especially if you have an eCommerce website.
With an HTTPS website, you will have a green padlock saying that your website is secure and trusted.
And if Chrome will be doing it, you can be sure that other browsers will also start doing it.
- Having Increased Conversions
No one needs to have an in-depth technical understanding to know what a red triangle means and what a green padlock means.
It means one is unsecure and the other one is secure.
And any website that asks for their personal information with an unsecure connection will have lower conversions compared to a website with a secure connection (a green padlock).
Heck, there’s already a test that was done between the conversion rates of HTTP and HTTPS websites. Check it out here.
- Increased Customer Confidence
Google has been making a lot of buzz on this topic. And they are right for that doing so because of all the cyber attacks that companies have been facing lately.
All this buzz has people specifically looking for websites with secure connections. And any website that has that; customers feel more confident in providing their personal information.