You might have seen recent discussions and articles online around the subject of HTTPS and be wondering what it is, what all the fuss is about and whether you need to worry about your own website.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and a website using it is encrypted which means that third parties are unable to see any information that users input into the website. HTTPS tells both browsers and your website visitors that your website is secure. The S at the end of HTTPS stands for secure and means that all communication between a browser and your website are secure.
A website address with HTTP means that third parties can view the information and it makes it easier for hackers to access your website. Any information you enter into a website is sent as plain text and so can be seen if an attacker was to get into your website. HTTPS encrypts the information so anyone who manages to intercept will be unable to see the information without a key.
Is HTTPS important?
HTTPS is essential if you take credit card or sensitive information from your customers directly on your website. This doesn’t mean that your whole website has to be secured but the payment pages certainly do. Just remember that a secure website is a signal to your visitors too.
Without HTTPS, it’s possible for hackers to trick your customers into thinking they’re providing data to your when they’re really handing it over to a scammer. So, by converting your website to HTTPS, you’re not only protecting yourself, you’re also protecting your customers.
Here are just a few of the reasons HTTPS is significant for your website:
HTTPS and SEO
That’s right; a HTTPS website can help to improve your ranking in the search engine results. Albeit only slightly but, as Google announced it was going to become a ranking factor in their algorithms, security of websites is likely to become more important in the future.
HTTPS will only have a small effect on rankings. Google themselves stated that it may work as a tiebreaker if quality signals are exactly the same for two websites. 40% of Google’s page one organic search results feature HTTPS websites.
In addition, HTTPS websites have faster loading speeds than HTTP sites which means that they’re more likely to have higher rankings.
Protects your website
Installing HTTPS to your website prevents intruders from tampering with the communications between your website and users’ browsers. This includes malicious hackers who want to exploit an unprotected website in order to trick your users into providing their sensitive information, installing malware or inserting their adverts into your resources.
Protect the privacy and security of your users
Many people are under the misconception that the only websites that need HTTPS are those which handle sensitive behaviours and identities of your users. Hackers are able to find out information about your website visitors, follow them around the internet and reveal their identity’s giving up their anonymity.
HTTPS and user experience
Have you noticed that browsers such as Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox now show lock icons to show visitors whether or not your site is secure? This means that HTTPS can have an effect on the credibility and perceived professionalism of your brand which is especially important if you want visitors to buy directly from your website. Did you know that 84% of internet users will abandon a purchase if they do not feel that their data is secure? This could have a massive impact on your sales!
From July 2018 Chrome will flag all pages that are not secure.
For more information about migrating your website to HTTPS and the effect it may have on your website and SEO strategy, please contact our team of experts.