HTTPS. It’s a cryptic code everyone is used to seeing at the front of every URL on the internet, right? But hang on. Have you ever noticed that some of them start with just http, and others start with https? Ever wonder what’s the difference?
Well, the S stands for secure, and the truth is, it makes a huge difference. Especially if you’re working on getting a small business off the ground, and so have a particular stake in search engine optimization for your online outreach initiatives.
Here are just some of the reasons why having https in your website URL is so important, and why you should make sure your web developers and managers know how important it is so they can maximize your optimization online.
#1: It protects you from intruders
The internet can be a perilous place, and it matters to have a little extra security watching your back. When your users open your website, they don’t want to be intercepted by any third parties, whether they be intentionally malicious attackers, or companies that use annoying pop up ads. And any unprotected services, be they images, cookies, scripts, or HTML are up for grabs by these uninvited third parties. Securing your website by installing an SSL certificate, thereby making your website an https, can help protect against this.
#2: It protects the privacy of your users
Whenever you’re browsing the internet, you tend to want your anonymity to remain intact. This can be put at risk if you’re visiting an unprotected (http) website, even if in your mind you’re not sharing any sensitive information. This is true of your users, whose aggregate activities online may be taken advantage of by intruders. HTTPS is essential to keeping your users safe.
#3: It’s more trustworthy
Although many people may not be aware of what the S in https signifies, those in the know will feel more at ease knowing that their information is being kept secure. But even if they are not, users logging in through the Chrome browser now receive a “Login not secure” message if they are entering an unprotected site. How do you think that looks to your visitors? It may not make them feel safe using your site.
#4: It’s better for ecommerce
Naturally, where these measures of extra security are most essential is in areas where users are sharing sensitive personal information, such as financial information or anything that exposes their personal identity. Hence, it is most important to take this precaution if you are in the business of ecommerce, and are asking users to share this type of information on your site in order to take advantage of your products or services.
#5: It’s better for mobile
Google’s new mobile index is encouraging sites to switch to https, and this is a requirement if you want to convert your website to AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page). This could affect how your mobile site is ranked, so if your mobile SEO is important to you, which it should be, you’d better get that SSL.
#6: It gives you a higher Google ranking
What all this amounts to is that being equipped with SSL will make your website rank higher on Google and other search engines, making it more visible and accessible to users and driving more business your way. Google favors websites that are secure, trustworthy, mobile-ready, and have higher traffic, all of which are improved by an SSL certification.
Adding that extra S in your URL significantly increases your ability to reach your users, and make them feel enough at ease to keep coming back, which will in turn continue driving traffic to your site. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and well worth your time.