Are you new to the world of SEO and trying to rank on Google? It can be a tricky subject, but it’s vital to the success of your business. Now, to make matters more confusing, Google announced that when you switch to HTTPS versus an HTTP domain, it will give you a (minor) ranking boost.

You’re probably wondering how this ties in with SEO rankings. Are there even SEO benefits to HTTPS? Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s make sure all the basics are covered first.

WHAT IS SEO & WHY DOES IT MATTER TO YOUR BUSINESS?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is your best friend. This is what ultimately gets you ranking on Google so potential customers can easily find your business and services through keywords they’ve searched for. These carefully researched location-specific and competitor keywords should be put in titles, subtitles, and the rest of your content on your webpages, blog posts and social media advertisements. Learning to do this yourself can be hard, but that’s where professional marketing companies come in.

HTTP VS. HTTPS

There aren’t a whole lot of differences, but since the summer of 2018, Google has been labelling HTTPS sites as “secure” even though there isn’t anything wrong with having HTTP. But since HTTPS is considered a more “secure version”, Google has found that internet users/browsers are 70% more likely to visit URLs with that extra “s” at the end.

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. This protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted through the world wide web. When you type in your request on the web, the web server receives that request and quickly searches for results and voila! You’re on the website you were hoping for. HTTP is commonly used to access HTML pages (HyperText Markup Language). Each web page contains a series of hyperlinks through HTML codes that help display texts, photos and videos properly. Basically, behind every title, subtitle, bullet points and pictures in your content, is an HTML code with keywords and placement instructions.

HTTPS stands for Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol. This protocol works the same way as above, only the “s” on the end is securely exchanging information. To make it more simple, a secure website containing HTTPS in its URL is what makes shopping or banking online safe and reliable. Security has always been Google’s number one concern, so another protocol they work with is called SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security). SSL is what’s ensuring all the information passed between the web server and the browser (you) remain private. Web servers with HTTP can install an SSL certificate to establish secure connections for things like credit card information, passwords, etc., and the server will change to HTTPS. TSL works in the same manner, but it’s actually even more efficient and secure and is a great way to ensure transactions made online remain private.

Is this a little less confusing now? We know the terminology can be bland but for a company looking to boost its Google HTTPS SEO rankings or even begin developing a new website, it’s important to understand the importance and benefits of online security and how rankings even work.

THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SSL & SEO

Online security is a huge topic and raises many questions for visitors. An SSL certificate ensures users’ security in three ways:

  • Encryption: A user’s information cannot be stolen.
  • Data integrity: Files cannot be corrupted.
  • Authentication: Users are on the intended website.

This is why Google actually warns users against making online purchases through an HTTP site. Users listen to Google. If Google tells them not to trust an HTTP URL, they’re not going too! In fact, 82% of people won’t even browse an unsecured website. So, SEO isn’t the only thing boosting your rankings. Companies that keep security on the top of their priority list by making the switch to HTTPS are likely to experience a notice in their search rankings, including organically. Ultimately the good news is, if your competitors aren’t using HTTPS sites, you’ll rank higher! Will you see an instant ranking boost? Not likely, especially since Google makes thousands of algorithm changes every year, but switching to HTTPS is still a good way to improve customer experience by gaining their trust

THE BENEFITS OF SWITCHING TO HTTPS

It’s not just your security measures that will increase when you switch to HTTPS. Here are a few other positive impacts it can make:

  • Improved Performance: URLs actually load quicker when HTTPS and TLS are installed.
  • Gained Trust: Having that “secure” aspect is key in gaining customers’ trust, but what’s even more important is they don’t have to worry about hackers compromising their information. Furthermore, advertisement techniques placed by some Wi-Fi operators can be blocked. After all, nothing is worse than browsing a company’s website only to have unwanted ads constantly pop up.
  • Verified Identity: Users will be guaranteed they’re being sent to the right place instead of a sketchy third-party website.

WHY HIRE A HOSTING COMPANY

If you’re still confused about how to switch your HTTP URL to HTTPS and have even tried searching Google on HTTPS switchover steps, it’s time to hire a reputable web hosting company.

Web hosting providers not only ensure your website is running quickly and act as a technical support backup, but they also act as a resource for extra storage for all your files and can enhance customer communications by branding your email address. Though web hosting comes with a monthly fee, costs are pretty budget-friendly. There are a few different web hosting options too, depending on how new your business is and what budget you have to work with. If you’re looking at working with a marketing company, many will offer web hosting packages with their services including:

  • Shared Hosting: This is geared towards beginners who have more of a lower budget. Costs are low because you’re sharing a server with thousands of other sites which isn’t as efficient for high traffic volumes, but since you’re a beginner it’s a great place to start until your traffic increases.
  • VPS Hosting: VPS stands for virtual private server. It provides you with private resources on a server with multiple users and is good for websites with medium traffic levels.
  • Cloud Hosting: With his hosting service, you use a “cloud” of different servers that store copies of your website. When one website is busy or not functioning, users can be directed to one with less traffic, but you only pay for ones you use so it could end up being more cost-efficient.
  • Dedicated Hosting: Once you’ve reached high traffic volumes, this hosting service is probably best for you since you’ll have higher performance and storage levels. You’re renting an entire server and not sharing it with any others.
  • Managed WordPress Hosting: Why handle the technical stuff yourself when you can get WordPress to do it for you? WordPress performs better and until you reach higher volumes of traffic, it’s great for both beginners and medium-sized websites.

TAKEAWAY

If you’re looking to improve your Google rankings and gain customer trust, one of the key factors to consider is how reliable and safe your website is. HTTPS lets users know it’s secure and, therefore, can privately make purchases or browse your site without worrying about their information being stolen. It can also slightly boost your SEO ranking compared to HTTP sites since users are more likely to click on your website. If you’re having trouble understanding how to switch to an HTTPS URL, web hosters can do all the hard work for you all while providing you with technical support and a fast loading website.