There are changes coming from tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple that are going to directly affect your web marketing strategy. The problem is a web security protocol called HTTPS (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure). Other terms you might encounter are SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security). To those who have never heard of these things, it’s little green padlock in the top left corner of your web browser.
HTTPS provides a secure, encrypted channel for a website to transfer data to a browser, and vice versa. It uses digital certificates to verify that each party is who they say they are and prevents third-parties from intercepting the data. It’s easy to see why HTTPS is a good idea. Nobody wants some shady person snooping on your passwords and credit card information when you’re online banking at Starbucks. And you wouldn’t want to think you’ve connected with your bank, when you’re actually on some scam site.
Beyond the safety considerations, however, the push for websites to adopt HTTPS matters for content marketers. Not having it on your site can now hurt your web marketing efforts in two big ways: search engine visibility and customer trust. Below we will talk about the relation between HTTPS and SEO.
HTTPS Affects SEO Ranking
Google is one of the major supporters of HTTPS, using its considerable leverage to increase adoption of the protocol. They have added HTTPS status as a ranking factor in searches. Since Google owns well over half of the search market and over 90% of mobile search, your site’s ranking on Google has a massive impact on your organic traffic. If your content is just as good as a competitor’s, but they have HTTPS and you don’t, they’re likely to rank higher on the results page. Overtime, the coveted top spots will all go to sites with it enabled.
It’s easy to see why HTTPS matters for content marketers who care about organic traffic. If you’re trying to create SEO-friendly content that gets viewed and gets results, not having HTTPS on your site can cripple your efforts.
HTTPS Encourages Customer Trust
Picture you manage to get a decent ranking even without HTTPS and someone actually clicks your link. In the address bar right now, Google Chrome (the most popular browser, with over 60% of all browser traffic) will show a “not secure” warning before your URL. In future builds of Chrome, that warning will get more dire, with red text and a caution sign. These warnings may eventually escape the address bar, becoming a popup window that warns people away from your site.
It’s easy to imagine the impact these warnings will have on people’s confidence in your site. When there are plenty of secure websites in the SERP, that warning is enough for your average consumer to look elsewhere for a site with the green padlock.
In the past, managing even a simple site’s security certificates could be a hassle. But in addition to pushing HTTPS adoption through penalties, Google and many others are also investing in making the technology easier to get. Even if you don’t have a web development team, you can likely get HTTPS up and running with minimal issues.
First, check with your internet provider to see if they offer automated HTTPS (many will help you get set up and manage your certificates). If your provider doesn’t offer HTTPS management, there are other providers out there. Search around online for reputable ones. If you have a little tech savvy, it’s pretty simple to get set up.
As you can see, adopting HTTPS is the right choice for you and everyone who visits your site. But it’s more than just the right thing to do. The decision to adopt it will make it easier for consumers to find your content, and will give people more confidence in your site. On the other hand, not having it will hurt both your ranking and your reputation.
Need Help With Setting Up HTTPS or With SEO?
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