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HTTPS and Its Importance for SEO

Google formally confirmed the emergence of the HTTPS protocol in 2014 as a new feature that influences a site’s ranking in search results. It is a better implementation of the HTTP standard protocol that enables encryption and is used to increase security. The HTTPS protocol is a useful tool for improving a website’s ranking in Google search results. Google promotes the protocol’s use for all newly developed websites. After switching to the HTTPS protocol, it is possible to boost the site’s ranking by up to 5%. You must speak with your domain registrar or provider if you want to convert to a secure protocol.

How HTTPS Works

The primary flaw of the previous HTTP protocol is the lack of security in the data transfer route between the computer and the server. Intruders may obtain unprotected information. Asymmetric encryption is used by the new HTTPS protocol to create an encrypted channel for secure communication. When you access the website, a random code with more than 100 characters is produced. Only the server and the user’s computer are aware of the code. The protocol meticulously records any data tampering that the user transmits. The browser authenticates the SSL digital certificate required to provide secure connections. A secure protocol is crucial for financial websites, payment systems, and websites that handle personal data.

Advantages and Disadvantages of HTTPS

The main advantages of using HTTPS are:

  • Increased visitor trust. Using the new protocol has a positive effect on behavioral factors. This is due to higher trust in the secure protocol. When using the HTTPS protocol, the number of bounces decreases and the conversion rate increases.
  • Increased trust from search engines. An official ranking element that will become more significant over time is a secure protocol. The HTTPS protocol is far more trusted by search engines than the out-of-date HTTP.

However, there are several drawbacks to using the new protocol:

Search engines will first consider the site to be new, which will temporarily hurt its search position. 

The website’s speed slightly decreases by roughly 2%. 

The expensive cost of SSL certificates, which ranges from $13 to $1000, is a serious drawback.

SSL Certificate Types

SSL

The following types of SSL certificates are available:

  • DV or Domain Validated (with domain validation). It offers data protection but does not verify the owner’s identity. It is utilized for private websites (for example, blogs).
  • OV or Organization Validated (with organization validation). It verifies the legal entity’s documentation. It is utilized by service providers and online retailers.
  • EV SSL or Extended Validation SSL (with extended organization validation). It offers multistage validation. Major banks and websites that offer payment services use it.

The project’s objectives, which include transitioning to the secured protocol, must be taken into account while selecting a certificate. Organization Validation (for a business) or Domain Validation (for an individual) are both used if you want to migrate to a single domain. Multiple subdomains of a single site use Wildcart, and a number of domains employ SAN certificates. Certificates with WildExtended Validation are used for banks and sizable holdings.

Issues with Switching to HTTPS

Several issues could arise once the website switches to the HTTPS protocol:

  • API-enabled services. The majority of websites incorporate third-party services like WebMoney and social media. You must confirm the protocol’s accuracy before switching to a secure protocol.
  • The accessibility of outside resources. The new HTTPS protocol might not support all third-party resources that were accessible via the older HTTP protocol. Before switching over to the new protocol, you should make sure that your website is accessible.
  • Cache. You must empty the site’s cache before switching to the new protocol.

Additionally, while moving to the new protocol you must examine infoblocks, links to internal resources, sitemap.xml information, and apps with API.

Mixed Content

Mixed content is information on an HTTPS website that can be accessed through the old HTTP protocol. There are two primary types of it:

  • Blockable. These are scripts and frames that intrusive parties might find useful. Browsers censor this type of material.
  • Optionally blockable. Consists of images, video and audio. Although not directly dangerous, such content can harm the site’s reputation.

To prevent the browser from blocking the material, it is made accessible via HTTPS.

A warning in the browser address bar, source code, the developer console, and the JitBit SSL checker are just a few of the tools used to look for mixed content. Google’s Lighthouse tool can also be used to look for mixed content.

When mixed content is found, it needs to be removed. Links that lead to internal or external resources are two possible solutions. Links are changed from absolute to relative and redirects are altered if they go to internal resources. If the links lead to external resources, you must locate an HTTP resource and use HTTPS to inspect the content loading (such as photos). Take the material from HTTPS resources if the download was incorrect. 

For the automatic removal of mixed content, specialized plugins called Really Simple SSL and SSL Insecure Content Fixer are employed. When working with the plugins, you should make a backup of the website so you may restore an earlier version if necessary.

Features of Switching to HTTPS

The following guidelines should be followed when converting to HTTPS:

  • An SSL certificate that has been confirmed must be installed. You ought to give preference to Symantec’s products since it is the owner of Thawte, Verisign, and Geotrust.
  • Internal links must lead to pages that use a secure protocol. This holds true for all XML-map links, templates, styles, etc. The new protocol inherits all settings from the HTTP version.
  • Verify whether associated material is accessible through HTTPS. This is where all audio, video, and scripts (e.g. YouTube) go. 
  • A visual check is made to ensure that the HTTPS version is displayed correctly.
  • Set up 301 redirects to the new mirror and verify their effectiveness. A 301 code is necessary for every redirect.

Conclusion

HTTPS is a new hypertext transfer protocol that enables users to securely connect to the website and safeguard their personal data. You must obtain an SSL certificate with varied levels of protection in order to connect a secure protocol. The changeover to the new standard is especially crucial for online retailers and payment systems. Your website’s position in the SERPs will improve if you use a secure protocol rather than an unprotected one.

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    Alexander Tarakhovich

    SEO expert with extensive experience. Helping you understand SEO. He takes the guesswork out of SEO, his advice in optimizations are based on what actually works. Alexander is currently working to make SEO known and accessible worldwide. Read Blog