Every online business owner knows that a simple alteration towards better optimization can affect their Google ranking and offer their potential clients a smoother user experience. Therefore, whether it’s a tweak in technical SEO, marketing campaigns, or customer service, know that these modifications make or break your business’s online growth.
Likewise, significant marketing experts have affirmed that switching from HTTP to HTTPS can bring about a surge in traffic and increase their brand’s accessibility in the digital domain. Although not many people will notice the change, your clients will enjoy a lag-free experience and return to your secured site many times in the future.
Moreover, as a webpreneur, you’ll experience additional SEO benefits, including bountiful traffic, lesser bounce rates, and a trusted bond with your audience base.
Managing the technical SEO of a website can be a challenge. Often web admins may feel lost. Understanding what is HTTPS can clearly indicate what to deploy, but expert agencies like Authority Magnet cater to all the intricate optimizing tasks.
What is HTTPS?
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (or HTTPS) is a safety standard that protects communications and data transfer between users and web servers. It’s an encrypted version of the main web protocol— HTTP, saving users and web admins from getting their sensitive data intercepted or attacked by hackers.
Note: Google Chrome prefers websites having HTTPS by default and flags those without HTTPS as ‘Not Secure’.
The initiation of using HTTPS by default began in 2011. On 22nd November, Google pronounced the deployment of HTTPS as the default web protocol of Gmail and all searches.
Gradually, major online web domains followed suit, promoting data encryption as the advanced mechanism to safeguard users’ privacy. Therefore, this security protocol is prevalent on banking and investment websites that require confidential information like email addresses, login passwords, credit card numbers, and more.
HTTPS secures user information in three distinct layers:
- Encryption: Ensures the searcher’s information is safe and no third-party bot can access or steal confidential files.
- Data Integrity: Protects information from being corrupted while transferring them between web servers and websites.
- Authentication: Mark the websites as trustworthy and help visitors build a solid and loyal bond with website owners.
How Does HTTPS Work?
HTTPS works with the mutual collaboration of SSL/TSL and a shared public key to enable data encryption and transfer between web servers and sites. Unlike HTTP, the secured standard protocol uses the 443 port to begin the transfer process.
Before the process begins, HTTPS decides on the transfer and connection parameters through an SSL/TSL handshake.
What is the SSL/TSL handshake?
The handshake procedure kickstarts the communication between the two interacting sources.
During this security mechanism, the website and web server acknowledge each other by exchanging messages. After the initial verifications, the two parties agree on cryptographic algorithms and the server keys to use during the data transfer.
Refer to the following steps to understand the workings of HTTPS:
- Step 1: Exchange of introductory messages between the client browser and web server
- Step 2: Agrees on encryption standards and key algorithms
- Step 3: Web Server shares SSL certificates with the browser
- Step 4: Certificate verification and its validity
- Step 5: Client browser generates a secret key using the shared public key
- Step 6: The browser shares the master secret key with the web server
- Step 7: Client and server use the symmetric key as per their requirements, and the value of the secret key
- Step 8: Both parties confirm their secret key encryption
- Step 9: Data transmission ensues with the help of symmetric keys
What is a TLS Certificate?
TLS certificates, popularly known as SSL certificates, enable HTTPS on a website. The Certificate Authorities that issue the TLS certificates pose as the trusted third-party medium in client-server relationships.
Note: Although any organization can grant the TLS certificate, servers like Google Chrome accept certificates that publicly trusted CAs issue.
There are three categories of TSL certificates, each serving a unique purpose:
1. Domain Validation (DV)
These types of certificates are often checked against the domain registry to determine website ownership. Since they don’t provide specific or identifying information concerning the domain, most expert web developers suggest against DV SSL for commercial websites.
Although DV is one of the cheapest certificates available, they hardly provide any information essential to authenticate a website. Even site visitors cannot check if the website is genuine or likely fraudulent.
Therefore, use DV certificates for websites like a company’s internal system, where authentication isn’t compulsory.
2. Organization Validation (OV)
Small and medium-sized companies can avail of this certificate to get verified evidence from the CA. The authority, with the government, tests the domain registry against their built-in databases.
To receive an OV certificate, the CA demands a few documents and the contact details of the executive. After investigating the legitimacy of the website information and its products and services, the CA grants the OV certificate.
Commercial and open-source websites can attain an OV label.
3. Extended Validation (EV)
Large conglomerates and top-notch e-commerce sites apply for EV certificates. It’s because such a TSL certificate offers extended steps to ensure premium security management.
In 2019, several commercial sites switched from OV to EV and witnessed increased revenue growth and customer engagement.
Not just e-commerce but any established or young brands can opt for EV certificates.
It’s because EV TSL is the global standard of data encryption. It offers quality brand awareness and assures premium clients about the whereabouts of their personal information.
Therefore, FinTech firms, investment organizations, and banking institutes use the EV certificate to safeguard their login pages, front-facing web pages, online credit account pages, and personal accounts.
How Does HTTPS Benefit SEO?
HTTPS is integral to technical optimization because it offers data authentication, website verification, and maintaining communication between URLs. These aspects reinforce the security and privacy functionality that Google prefers in a website.
Consequently, it affects your holistic SEO growth and website ranking on the SERP.
In 2014, Google announced HTTPS as a top-priority ranking factor. The search engine announced – ‘Security is a top priority for Google. We invest a lot in making sure that our services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default. That means that people using Search, Gmail, and Google Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google.’
A few pointers that elucidate why HTTPS is necessary for SEO are:
1. Better Site Security
Being a significant ranking signal, an improved security system in the website algorithm implies an elevation in SEO metrics. Therefore, HTTPS’s increased security offerings provide utility assurance to potential clients with a hassle-free user experience.
These parameters add to your website’s SEO efforts, resulting in an improved ranking scoreboard.
2. Preserves Referral Data
Apart from the advanced security reasons, HTTP Secure preserves referral data for content or brand marketers to analyze their current situation.
Note: Referral data or traffic is the segment of your website traffic describing how these visitors reach your website. They come to your brand website through other domains or website links.
In the case of HTTP websites, Google Analytics will show referral traffic as ‘Direct’. That’s to say, if your visitors come through a specific portal or social media platform, the HTTP setting will never present a clearer picture.
Instead, the HTTPS website presents a detailed description of the incoming traffic and its point of origin. Utilize this information to prioritize those sources and curate content or products for those audience personas.
3. Builds Domain Authority
Web browsers like Google Chrome flag websites with ‘Not Secure’ tags. Most HTTP websites have these warnings, making visitors leave such web pages. It increases website’s bounce rate.
That’s because an unsecured web page may result in a poor user experience.
Note: Google favors websites that prioritize their searcher’s hassle-free online experience.
On the contrary, an HTTPS website assures visitors it’s safe to visit the web page and encourages them to engage and interact.
4. Improves Page Loading Speed
Page loading speed is another essential ranking factor, and HTTPS websites have higher loading speeds. Therefore, Google ranks HTTPS websites higher than HTTP websites.
HTTP websites couldn’t allow more than one request per TCP connection. Such an arrangement eventually slows down web page loading when websites and pages become more resource-intensive.
5. Enhance Google Ranking
Increased ranking on the search engine results page is an inevitable result of HTTPS websites.
Given the HTTPS website’s elaborate benefits, it’s only natural to see your website soaring high above in SERPs.
How to Enable HTTPS on WordPress Websites?
Multiple companies resort to HTTPS websites, and it’s only natural for bloggers and content writers to change their WordPress website domain from HTTP to HTTPS. You can get an SSL certificate for free to start the shifting process.
Some of the hosting companies offering SSL/TSL certificates for free are:
On procuring an SSL certificate, enable the SSL on your website and set up HTTPS protocols. There are two ways a web admin installs SSL certificates on WordPress websites.
Method 1: Using a Plugin to Setup HTTPS on WordPress
This method is ideal for beginners or non-technical professionals who prefer simple website arrangements.
The following steps can help you understand how to enable HTTPS:
- Step 1: Install and activate the Really Simple SSL plugin
- Step 2: Visit settings and then head to the SSL page
- Step 3: Plugin automatically detects the SSL certificate and sets up the WordPress website with HTTPS
Note: Besides setting up the secured website, the SSL plugin takes care of the following:
- Checks SSL certificates regularly
- Redirects HTTP websites to HTTPS
- Hunts down URLs loading from HTTP sources
Method 2: Setting up HTTPS on WordPress Website Manually
The second method requires more optimized performance and skills. It allows web hosts to edit and manage all records and SSL files on WordPress.
If you find this method difficult, seek professional help from agencies like Authority Magnet, who can deliver quality results in days’ time.
The essential steps are:
- Step 1: Visit settings and head to the General page
- Step 2: Update the URL and site address to HTTPS
- Step 3: Click on Save Changes
- Step 4: Redirect all HTTP links to HTTPS
Frequently Asked Questions
A few common questions that web developers and content strategists ask about HTTPS and their impact on holistic SEO efforts are:
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s the standard protocol for the safe transmission of data and communication between the website and browser. HTTPS is the secured version of HTTP, protecting web users from online eavesdroppers and man-in-the-middle threats.
Web admins generally use HTTPS to lower the chances of errors, make accurate decisions regarding sensitive technical issues, and simplify deployment matters.
SEO experts and software engineers believe HTTPS is safer than HTTP. It encrypts the information exchanged between the user and the web server. Therefore, sensitive data like bank account numbers, passwords, or credit card numbers remain safe from third-party intervention.
E-shop sites, banking websites, and investment web portals are popular HTTPS examples.
Some benefits of using HTTPS are:
• Boosts trustworthy relationships between users and web servers
• Scales Google ranking of commercial websites
• Safeguards websites and customer accounts from phishing and data breaches
• Improves website revenue for every user
• Encrypts data and protects it from illegal access
There are mainly three types of SSL:
• Extended Validation SSL
• Organization Validated SSL
• Domain Validated SSL
Yes, HTTPS is safe for SEO. It ensures every functionality and monetary proceeding on the website is secured, making the visitors feel comfortable and reassured. Besides the smooth user experience, it improves the website ranking.
Yes, it’s a ranking factor. Since 2014, HTTPS has been a lightweight ranking factor. With HTTPS, you can find the Not Secured website tag. It enables visitors to avoid such web domains easily.
Google prioritizes website security, compelling visitors to return to the website and engage in financial proceedings. Therefore, Google values websites with significant investments in HTTPS data encryption and premium protection standards.
According to serpwatch.io, around 95% of websites are HTTPS. Moreover, searchers often spend 99% of their online time browsing HTTPS websites.
With rising competition in digital real estate, marketing executives incline towards HTTPS websites. They are creating marketing strategies around a safe website that makes clients and viewers recurring visitors owing to high reliability scores.
Remember, an unsafe website not only jeopardizes the safety of customer accounts. It may trigger visitors to lose their trust in your brand. As a result, the company may hit rock bottom due to a reduction in revenue and growth.
Therefore, challenge your competitors with more secure web space that drives several SEO benefits. Contact Authority Magnet and seek expert help from SEO and website maintenance accomplished masterminds.