We’re going to get a bit geeky this month talking about HTTPS, but we’ve tried to keep it easily digestible for you. Site security is an important issue and it’s interesting to see Google give more weight to sites using HTTPS. We also have our usual unusual selection of fun and interesting items.
Is HTTPS Better For SEO?
Standard HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the most widely used for most websites (e.g. http://www.avatar.co.nz). HTTPS (e.g. https://www.avatar.co.nz) adds an additional layer of security encryption and web browser applications will tend to display a padlock type icon to indicate the enhanced security. HTTPS essentially makes it more difficult for the data to be hacked, tampered with or intercepted, providing a further degree of confidence in the integrity of the data. Historically, HTTPS has tended to be used by ecommerce sites or main brand sites whilst most websites use HTTP because it’s simpler to setup and you don’t need to pay an annual certification fee.
Since August 2014, when Google announced they would be using HTTPS as a lightweight ranking signal, the number of page one Google results that use HTTPS has increased to over 30 percent. After an initially slow start the uptake of HTTPS, it is now gathering momentum with some industry experts predicting the possibility of reaching 50% within the next 18 months. With Google alluding to the possibility that they may make HTTPS a stronger ranking signal in the future, making the switch is now worth further consideration.
Conversion to HTTPS requires enlisting the help of a third party SSL Certificate Authority (CA), who will provide varying degrees of domain / identity verification. SSL certificates costs vary and will depend upon the strength of verification required, browser interaction features and amount of liability coverage. Some CA examples are:
Typically it’ll take a few hours for your web host and/or web team to setup. It’s best you talk to them first before you purchase a SSL certificate, as they may advise the best option for your web hosting account.
The current real world implications of using HTTPS means that when Google is trying to decide between two otherwise very similarly ranked sites, then the one with HTTPS could be ranked higher. HTTPS is unlikely to ever outweigh other search ranking factors, such as high quality content and links to your site, but it is one factor that could lift your results.
Google Analytics Academy. If you really want to get a good handle on website stats, then doing the free online courses is a great option. Within a few hours you’ll have the basics covered which will enable you to have a much better understanding of the data and key insights.
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