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HTTP vs HTTPS and how HTTPS helps website SEO

Marketers are always finding ways to reach out to their audience. The website has become the prime mode of communication with the audience. As a result, we have seen an exponential increase in active websites, with around 543 million functional websites in 2021. With so many websites around, businesses must ensure they undertake the proper activities to ensure their website ranks highly during a keyword search. 

Web admins must also pay heed to the increased incidents of data breaches. The underlying customer data must be protected while paying heed to website SEO. The concerned teams must ensure there are proper systems in place to prevent any data breach. It becomes essential to move from the HTTP platform to HTTPS. How can it help? This article discusses the aspect of HTTP vs HTTPS and more.

What is HTTP?

The HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) helps in communication between servers and online users. It is a platform that defines how the information exchange happens between the sender and the receiver. The protocol allows to fetch resources, like HTML documents and uses a client-server protocol where the recipient initiates the requests. However, one of its drawbacks is that it does not remember anything about the previous online session.  

The clients and the servers undertake the exchange of information by exchanging individual messages. The individual request is sent to the server based on which the response is provided. There can be several entities between the client and the server, called proxies. In hindsight, the requests and the related responses can be read by third parties aware of the ongoing session. Thus, it presents a severe risk of a data breach!

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP and is the primary protocol used to exchange information between a website and the visitor’s browser. The session is encrypted and is essential when there is the transfer of sensitive information, like financial records, etc. Websites that require the visitor to enter sensitive information like login details and other records and those that sell their solutions online must use this protocol for communication. It is marked by the padlock on the address bar that ensures that the website is secure.

The HTTPS adds a layer of security over a website and works with SSL for safer transportation of data over the internet. It reduces the risk of any cybercriminal attacking or trying to steal any information from the website. The sensitive data is protected from other users over the internet.

The SSL Certificate and the various types

It uses the Transport Security layer (TLS) protocol to create encrypted and authenticated connections between two networked computers. It works by ensuring there is a cryptographic pair of private and public keys. In addition, there is a specific mathematical equation that makes the message indecipherable by any unauthorized entity.

There are several types of SSL certificates from which you can choose one for your website. They come under three main categories:

Single Domain SSL: It secures only a single fully-qualified domain name or a sub-domain.

Wildcard SSL: Wildcard SSL Certificate will secure only one domain and an unlimited number of first-level sub-domains.

Multi-domain: This certificate can secure different domains and subdomains, but not automatically like wildcard cert here; you need to add each subdomain you wish to secure manually.

The SSL certificate can have different validation levels, viz.

Domain Validation: This validation covers confirmation of the ownership of the domain name registration. It can be issued within minutes.

Organization Validation: It requires the verification of the ownership of the domain and some details of the owner too.

Extended Validation: It covers an exhaustive validation covering a complete examination of the ownership of the domain name along with company verification. It also covers legal requirements along with physical and operation verification of the organization.

Various SSL certificate providers or Certificate Authorities (CA) are trusted to provide these certificates to businesses.

HTTPS helps to increase traffic 

There has been an increase in data breaches, and the University of Maryland suggests that there could be a hacker attack every 39 seconds. It has made internet users be on their guard. Most of them look for the padlock sign on the address bar – a symbol of website security. They are quick to abandon websites that do not show this sign. Websites that are still on HTTP risk losing out on their audience who move to their competitors. It also leads to an increase in the bounce rate that negatively affects the website SEO.

HTTPS can boost search rankings

Search engines like Google are always on the lookout to provide a better experience for internet users. They have changed the ranking algorithm and have announced the lookout for more HTTPS pages. It is in sync with their intent to make the internet a safer place.

As a result, more web admins are looking forward to moving to the HTTPS platform. However, it is a lightweight ranking factor and expects most websites to soon shift to the HTTPS protocol. The webmaster needs to install an SSL certificate to prevent a temporary drop in rankings.

Warnings for non-HTTPS websites

When you visit a non-HTTPS, you must have noticed a “Not Secure” warning. Web browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have come up with this warning to warn internet users from visiting unprotected sites. The warning moves visitors away from the website and mainly to the competitors. As a result, you lose visitors, and this may bring down search rankings too. Reports also suggest that HTTPS websites load faster that can affect website SEO too. 

Conclusion

Websites are the primary mode of communicating with the audience. It is why marketers and web admins would like the website to rank high during a keyword search. In addition, search engines like Google prefer to make the internet a safe place for its users. As the debate for HTTP vs HTTPS rages on, Google has made HTTPS a lightweight ranking factor. Moreover, web browsers are also marking non-HTTPS sites as insecure.

It becomes necessary to install an SSL certificate and ensure that your site enthuses a sense of trust in the minds of the visitors. There are several other benefits, like faster load times, more visitors, and improved conversion rates. Those still on the fence must choose from among the SSL certificate providers and install one for their website.

About the author

Jessica is a professional content writer with work experience of over 10 years. Presently she is working as a freelancer. She likes sharing her knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from marketing to technology and entrepreneurship.