Why now is the time to switch to HTTPS

By May 31, 2017

In 2014, Google told search engine marketers that they needed to start using secure websites in order to improve their ranking. This is a very big deal, because too many transactions on the web nowadays take place on websites that are not secure.

Google is looking at having a secure website as another ranking factor in their algorithm. That means whether you like it or not, if you want search traffic this is something to consider. Furthermore, as we discuss below, the number of websites adding an SSL certificate is growing exponentially. Before you get left out, you might want to consider having this certificate.

What are the benefits of HTTPS?

As we stated above, Google wants users to know that when they send them to a website, it is a safe website that has the information they need.

Therefore, in 2014 they added HTTPS as a ranking factor. Adoption was slow at first; however, Moz recently reported that 50% of first-page search results now contain domains with HTTPS URLs. This is up from 30% last year.

Based on this trend, the number could be as high as 70% by the end of the year. That means now more than ever, if you want search traffic you need to have a secure website. Google has always been about sending their users to sites where they can get accurate information based on their inquiries.

They are now extending this idea to the safety and security of the website itself. They want users to trust in their search engine. To do that, they want the search results to display websites that have a secure connection for visitors’ transactions. To ensure a website is safe and secure they need to have the following characteristics:

  • Encryption: Keep your data secure from digital eavesdroppers who might try to listen in to your conversations.
  • Data Integrity: Prevent data from being modified or corrupted during transfer.
  • Authentication: Ensure that your communication with websites users is secure, so they know they are not talking to a third-party spam site.

3 Steps to Securing Your Website: Setting up your SSL Certificate

Step 1: Pick an SSL Certificate: If you want to have a secure HTTPS site, then you need an SSL certificate. Essentially, these certificates provide a different level of validation for the security of your website depending upon what certificate you purchase.

Talk to your hosting company about purchasing the best SSL certificate for your needs.

The three different options are:

Domain Validation: Cheap and basic, this certificate validates you have encrypted your data.

Organization Validation: Middle of the road certificate that also includes authentication, which is valuable if you collect personal information.

Extended Validation: Premium validation that is best for eCommerce and websites that collect sensitive, private information like financial and health information. For example, we worked with Sass & Bide on their search engine optimisation for their eCommerce site. They have an SSL certificate that ensures website transactions are completed securely.

Step 2: Install It: Sometimes your host can install the SSL certificate for you. If not, you definitely want to connect with a website developer or search engine specialist to help you. It is not difficult if you know what you are doing, but not recommended unless you have a strong technical background.

If you do need help with installing your SSL certificate, feel free to give us a Shout.

Step 3: Update Your Site Map. Even though HTTPS and HTTP seem similar, they are two different URLs. That means:

http://example.com

and

https://example.com

are two different URLs. Updating your site map ensures Google can follow your website to improve your rankings.

Final Thoughts

Securing your website can be a very valuable benefit if you are looking to increase your search traffic. As we discussed before, the number of first-page sites using HTTPS has increased dramatically.

Therefore, it is time to take a look at getting an SSL certificate for your website. It may take some time, but it will be worth it to have the trust of your website visitors as well as Google.

If you have additional questions about making your website secure, then set up a free appointment with the experts at Shout.