HTTPS vs. HTTP: How Secure Is Your Website?

Are you sometimes confused about the terms used by your SEO professional when discussing your website?  If so, you are not alone.  Most business owners hire SEO companies because they do not understand the “behind the scenes” issues that impact a strong web presence.  However, understanding some basic terminology and how it affects your website can be beneficial in helping you make good decisions about your own SEO strategy.  One example of this is understanding the difference between an HTTPS and HTTP website, and how it affects your search engine rankings.

What Are HTTP and HTTPS?

In the early days of the Internet, most websites were designated as HTTP, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol.  In essence, HTTP is an application layer that allows your computer to load websites.  In the past, HTTP was fine for most browsing; however, with the rise of hackers, and most particularly with the increase in the use of the web for financial transactions, more security is required that HTTP offers.  In a sense, HTTP is not secure at all; it is very little in the way of encryption offered through HTTP websites, so essentially your browsing, along with any information you enter such as passwords, is open to the world.

Because of this, HTTPS was developed.  HTTPS uses the same formats to load pages as HTTP, but adds a layer of encryption–or several layers, depending on the website.  HTTPS uses something called TLS or Transport Layer Security to encrypt both requests from user websites and responses from other websites, securing your browsing and data entry from intrusion.  You can tell the difference between an HTTPS and an HTTP website by the URL–the address at the top of your page.  If it begins with https://, it is secure; if it has only http://, it may not be.

How Does HTTPS Affect My Website’s Rankings?

Google recently announced a move to ensure website security among the sites that it promotes through its search engine results.  Google wants to be sure that the websites people access when they do a search are safe and secure for browsing.  For this reason, Google is now checking for encryption as a signal to rank websites in search engine results.

For now, Google is not giving a tremendous amount of weight to encryption as a ranking signal, but that is due to change.  What this means is that if your website is not currently secure, it is time to think about making it so in order to preserve your rankings in Google.

Making your website secure involves some technical work to beef up encryption and ensure that visitors to your site have a safe, pleasant experience.  At Caldiatech, we are committed to helping our clients build safe, high-ranking websites that give visitors the best possible browsing experience.  Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you secure your website, improve your search engine rankings, and offer your clients the very best in the website content.