01 November, 2020

As far back as 2014 Google has been advocating a “HTTPS everywhere” approach to webmasters and with companies increasingly concerned with security, the urgency to address this issue has only increased. Aside from the security and user experience benefits of running a secure website the SEO benefits of converting across sooner rather than later are significant and I will go into them below

So without further adieu;

What is HTTPS/SSL?

You will have noticed that most ecommerce websites these days come with a nice little “Secure” green lock next to their URL in your browser. While the basic setup of most web servers is insecure and uses http://www.website.com/ any website that is running a SSL certificate will be accessed by https://www.website.com/. (highlight https?)

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and at asimple level is a way of certifying that your website can be trusted because it is being accessed over a secure connection. It also generally certifies to users that your business and website has been validated through your SSL provider (who are becoming more and more thorough in evaluating businesses).

Why should I care?

As mentioned above there are numerous advantages to running your website over HTTPS;

Website Security

The obvious advantage is that if your website is running over a secure HTTPS connection then any communication between your users and your website is secured. This means that any login information, credit card details, or even personal/enquiry details are sent and received in a secure way that is very hard to intercept even on a public wifi connection.

User Experience / Peace of Mind

Every year more and more end users and potential customers are becoming aware of the difference between a secure and non secure website. These days I have second thoughts about even entering my email address into a non secure website in case of phishing and other risks.
As simple as it may sound having a “Secure” green lock next to your website URL can give users peace of mind and prompt them to feel safe signing up, purchasing, or enquiring through your website.


SEO Benefits

Google have actually gone on record and specified that HTTPS is now a ranking factor in their algorithm. While they may have only said it is a small (less than 1%) factor back in 2014 they have also said this will most likely increase year on year meaning the sooner you move across to HTTPS the better!

There are numerous secondary SEO benefits of running a secure website such as a better/safer user experience which can result in longer user sessions and a lower bounce rate which also factors into Google’s ranking algorithm and increases your chance of a conversion.

What does it cost?

SSL Certificates are very cost effective these days (Most reputable SSL providers go as low as $120 per year for a basic SSL certificate) and can be issued within 24 hours by some providers.
There will probably be additional costs from your developer or hosting company to implement the certificate but it is a worthy investment to ensure the certificate is installed properly.

How is it done?

While the basic installation of an SSL certificate is relatively simple and can be done by your developer or hosting company, there are numerous SEO factors that must be taken into account prior to switching over your site to HTTPS. If these factors are not taken into account it could result in your website being unable to be indexed properly and your rankings plummeting on Google.

Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help ensure this transition has a positive impact on your rankings and user experience! (Insert link to contact form)

Author: Sean O'Neill