Before I get into what HTTPS is and why every website needs it, I want to make sure that you understand why it is important. The simple fact is this: websites that are HTTPS are now going to be ranked higher in search results than those that are not.
Google Now Indexes HTTPS Websites Higher
You could have the best products and services, but if your competitor’s website has HTTPS and your website doesn’t, their website will appear higher in search results than yours.
Security has always been important to Google and they have been encouraging websites to go to HTTPS for a while. To encourage them even more, Google added HTTPS to their indexing system. Google’s primary concern is to help consumers feel that their information is safe when searching and using websites found in Google searches.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and basically means that an HTTPS site will protect the user’s information as it travels between their device and a website. So, when a consumer finds your site and fills out a form to receive more information, asks a question, receives a newsletter, or makes a purchase, that information is secure and will not be found and used by third parties.
Why This is Good for Business
While this change from Google creates more work and another change that businesses must adapt to on their sites, it is also a benefit for them in the long run. Migrating to HTTPS URLs will give businesses that are quick to change another opportunity to get a leg up on their competition in search results. However, even beyond that, it will give customers and potential customers an additional layer of trust. As has been said before, people buy from businesses they trust.
What Businesses Need to Know
There are a number of things that Google will be looking at when deciding whether or not to index an HTTPS site. Below are a few you definitely want to be aware of:
- This new algorithm is currently a weak one (or only a slight boost) as Google gives businesses and webmasters the opportunity to migrate their sites. However, the quicker a business gets their site to HTTPS URLs the longer they will have an edge in search ranking over competitors that may be dragging their feet on changing.
- When making the change it is important to remember to make sure your HTTPS URL does not lead users to an unsecured HTTP link because this is something Google will be checking.
- Be sure to include the HTTPS in site maps.
- Google has a helpful section on their help page on how to create a secure site with HTTPS.
Once the migration to HTTPS is complete the customer’s information is secure and the business will also get a boost in search results above the competition. Want to know about Google’s other changes? Click here.
Are you already using HTTPS? If not, have you started working toward migrating to HTTPS? Share any tips you have found that make the switch easier.