What is HTTPS & What Does It Mean For SEO?

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What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS is the method that serves a site in a secure environment, essentially meaning secure communication between a browser and webserver. By implementing HTTPS this will protect your search history and personal information you have entered on webpages being seen by others. HTTPS is the process of encrypting your data so it cannot be understood by those with malicious intent that do not have permission to view your information.

What are SSL and TLS?

SSL and TLS are the protocols and security technology in place between your browser and webserver that encrypt your data during a session. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) are advanced technology put in place to make the Internet a safer place as well as protect all your confidential information such as bank details, passwords and email addresses.

How can I tell if my site is secure?

A good free tool to use to test the security level of your website is SSL Labs. SSL Labs performs a deep analysis of your site pages to check the status of your SSL certificate such as whether HTTPS has been implemented on every page.

The tool will make an assessment of how secure the site is. If the results come out as “A+”, this means that the site is secure to the highest standard. SSL Labs will highlight any issues they have discovered and give you guidance on where changes need to be made to make your site more secure.

How do search engines show a sites security level?

It is easy to recognise a secure site in browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox by a green padlock being displayed in the search bar,  this indicates that sent data has been encrypted and any personal information entered on this website will remain secure. A site with no security does not display a green padlock and the website URL does not start with https:// however a grey padlock indicates that HTTPS is not implemented site wide and parts of the website are unencrypted and vulnerable. By clicking on the green padlock on secure sites in Chrome, further information about the connection is displayed.

How does HTTPS affect my Google rankings?

Google has been pushing for all domains to be 100% secure as this would make the web a safer place and help prevent cybercrime.  Implementation of HTTPS is more so expected by ecommerce sites as these sites are more vulnerable to attacks for the bank details of their customers. Although many ecommerce sites have HTTPS enable on payment pages, this is not enough to receive the small rankings boost Google has stated sites with HTTPS implemented on every page will receive. If Google use an extensive scoring system to assess the SEO value of a site and two competing sites have the same SEO score except one is secure and one is not, Google will rank the secure site above the non-secure. Google are constantly searching for further ways to make the Internet a safer place, so they will reward those who are enabling that positive change.

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