October 14, 2014
Http or Https? What Should Be Used For SEO Purpose?
Http or Https? Which is a better option for SEO purpose? Let's find out the pros and cons for using http and https for SEO purpose?
Many people come across this and wonder what the difference between these two is. Let’s clear the doubt and also learn how your SEO can benefit with it.
Difference between HTTP and HTTPS
To communicate over a network, a set of procedures must be followed. This set of procedures is called a protocol. HTTP (Hyper Text Transmission Protocol) is a protocol used in networking. When you type a web address in your browser, your computer becomes the client and the computer being requested for the information becomes the server.
The client follows HTTP protocol to make a connection and fetch information from the server. The information sent and received floats over freely over the internet and no encryption is done over the information. Thus, the information is unsecured. The port used for communication is 80 and the URL(Uniform Resource Locator) begins with "https://ittisa.com"
The problem arises when information has to be secured while client communicates with server e.g. a financial transaction, where the information is too important to be shared on or float freely over the internet.
Here comes the HTTPS protocol, which is same as HTTP but is for secure file transfers. The information sent through HTTPS protocol is encrypted and hence a third-party cannot read it. HTTPS is HTTP and SSL protocol combined.
Connecting through HTTPS requires trusted public key and digital certificates to be sent to the server to confirm authenticity. The port used for HTTPS is 443 and the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) begins with "https://www.ittisa.com".
How does it matter in SEO? Why should you switch to HTTPS?
Pros of using https for SEO:
- Ranking - HTTPS is now being used as a ranking signal and Google is giving a boost to the websites with HTTPS connection.
- Security - If you are an ecommerce website, you will need to reassure your customers by using a HTTPS connection. It enhances user performance.
- Preserving more data - When the traffic passes from HTTPS site, the important data will be preserved but in case of HTTP being used, the information will be discarded in the traffic.
Cons of using https for SEO:
- Speed can be an issue - Since going from http to https is going to require more frequent connection to server for authenticating the certificates, speed may be slightly reduced.
- Cost- Extra cost will be required to buy SSL certificates. If you have a large data set, it might be a little complex to move everything from HTTP to HTTPS
Why have the SEO guys not made the switch till now?
In the past, folks believed any switch to HTTPS through 301 redirects would incur a loss of link equity, estimated around 15%. Because of this, many webmasters didn't want to switch.
Now that you have decided to take a step further in improving your reach through enabling HTTPS, let’s see how to do it.
How to enable HTTPS for SEO?
- All your links or pages should start from HTTPS. A webserver can be used in between to redirect the HTTP pages to HTTPS, but without it also will not cause a problem and will be less expensive.
- Decide what kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain or wild-card certificate.
- Use 2048 bit key certificates.
- Use 301 redirects to direct all HTTP URLs to HTTPS.
- Migrate your social shares. Edit your site so that you are able to maintain the social shares.
- Register HTTPS version to Google and Bing.
- Update robots.txt file.
- Use Google’s help document for complete guidance.
- If only a part of website is turned to HTTPS, note that only the pages with the SSL enabled will be boosted for rankings.
- Implementing it involves complexity, risks, and costs.
- Lastly, there are a lot other things you can do to improve your rankings and switching to HTTPS is just one of them.
Have a great day!