Google announced its preference towards HTTPS over HTTP in 2014, with the intention of increasing security and protecting its users from the increasing rate of cyber-attacks. More than two years after the huge announcement, this relatively new ranking signal hasn’t really penetrated the market, with only 11 percent of websites using HTTPS.
The question for any website owner is whether HTTPS would really benefit the site’s search engine optimization (SEO) or not. In this article, we will help you decide which one is better in terms of SEO: HTTP or HTTPS.
HTTP and HTTPS defined
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is an application protocol used by the Web that aids in the proper formatting of messages transmitted across the internet and the actions by which web servers and browsers respond. In simplest terms, the main concern of HTTP is to send the information to the user without much concern on how the information can get through.
Websites using HTTP do not “keep a record” of previous web visits, which means that there is less data to go through. As a result, some site owners who remain with HTTP have experienced faster page loading speeds than the HTTPS counterpart.
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), on the other hand, is the combination of HTTP and the Secure Socket Layer (SSL). HTTP code is visually destroyed or encrypted in such a way as to protect private information and secure the site from potential hackers.
In short, HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP. This means that all communication between the browser and the website are encrypted.
What is the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?
The main difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that the latter uses TCP Port 443. SSL is responsible for transferring data safely, while HTTPS works by making sure that the transmitted information is visually understandable but with an extra layer of protection. This protocol secures any kind of information that the user encounters in a website.
Does Google Prefer HTTPS?
Google wants to put premium on trustworthy and certified websites. Because of this, SEO professionals will need to integrate this significant change in algorithm in their SEO strategies. With Google’s announcement of HTTPS as a page ranking signal, pages using the secure protocol will have greater priority in search results.
Business owners are now advised to redirect their existing HTTP URLs to their HTTPS versions.
The following are the influencing factors in indexing Google’s URL to aid in search engine optimization:
- The server needs to have a valid Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate.
- The site map should list the HTTPS URL.
- The site must not have on-host out-links to HTTP URLs.
- The site must not contain a no-index robots Meta tag.
- The site must not have a rel=”canonical” link to the HTTP page.
- The site should not be blocked from crawling by robots.txt.
- The site must not contain insecure dependencies.
Advantages of Making the Big Switch
Knowing that using HTTPS offers more security, this should not be overlooked by SEO professionals. The benefits of switching from HTTP to HTTPS include the following:
- Sites using HTTPS have a higher likelihood of increase in search ranking.
- The referral information is preserved when using HTTPS.
- It provides additional security and privacy by verifying that the website is the one that is being accessed.
- It prevents possible tampering by malicious third-party entities.
- It encrypts all communication that may contain private information like credit card information and browsing history.
SEO professionals do not need to fear the big switch. Instead, this should be taken as a challenge to amp up site security for the benefit of the general web-browsing public.