HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is the secure version of the standard Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) originally created in 1994 for the Netscape Navigator web browser. HTTPS is widely used to secure connections over the internet. It preserves data between a site and a visitor.
HTTPS is guarded by a Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS) that gives various layers of protection.
- It encrypts data transferred between a website and a visitor.
- Outsiders can’t corrupt it, if they attempt, they come under HTTPS Radar.
Among the various types of SSL Certificates is the Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate. It is a certificate that allows the green bar in the address bar. An EV Certificate is there for security. It makes your site immediately recognizable and gives visitors trust that your site is reliable. E-commerce sites mostly use it to resist phishing attacks and make buyers feel safe.
Also read: 8 Best Private Search Engines
The most secure and most recommended certificate is one with a 2048-bit root key. A 2048-bit SSL Certificate gives the highest levels of encryption and authentication. It is more difficult to crack than others and assures that only the intended recipient can access the information sent.
HTTPS is essential for your website for many reasons. It is useful to you as a website owner and to your website visitors.
Why Should You Use HTTPS
Following are some more reason for why you should use HTTPS:
It Helps Your Site Rank:
Every minute — no, second — Google’s algorithm requires sites to battle it for top search rankings necessarily. I love that visual: two websites that could rank for a user’s query, mostly running toward the finish line of top results. But what happens if there’s a tie? Do the sites battle it out in a “sudden death” round?
Kind of — there is a tiebreaker in between, and it’s https. The way Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes explains, “If all quality signals are equal for two results, then the one that is on HTTPS would get … or may get … the extra boost that is a must to trump the other result.”
It all goes back to the idea that Google is continually solving the user and makes frequent changes to its algorithm that create a better experience, which is why our next point makes sense.
It’s Secure for Users:
I couldn’t tell you the last time I heard about a hacking incident which ended in thousands of record loss. It is because they seem to happen so frequently. Such data breaches jumped 29.5% between 2014 and 2015.
But SSL helps prevent these “man-in-the-middle” attacks — “a form of eavesdropping where communication between two users is monitored by a third party” — and keeps user information secure.
That makes https especially important if your website accepts credit cards or has a login functionality. With so many of these hacking incidents making headlines; users want to know that your brand is making an effort to protect them from the loss of their private information.
We could also get into a debate about the ethics of protecting your users from that kind of privacy breach; but you get the point:
- user privacy = important
- https = good for privacy
SSL is required for AMP
A few pieces of vocabulary to break down here:
“AMP” stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It’s the technology that makes individual pages load almost instantaneously on mobile. So, when you search for something on your mobile device through Google; you might notice that some results have a lightning bolt icon next to it, which means that it is AMP-ready.
AMP is going to play a significant role in SEO in the coming months — Google is making it a priority for 2017; which implies that AMP-ready pages will have better rankings. But for something to be labeled as AMP, it requires SSL.
Google is Indexing Mobile
So, that thing we just said about the importance of mobile? It turns out, Google is actually going to start indexing mobile; which means that its “algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site.”
But for a mobile site to be indexable, Google recommends several best practices, one of which is to “start by migrating to a secure site,” especially “if [you] don’t support HTTPS yet.”
Boost Site’s Reliability
To explain — In January 2017; Chrome 56 will start displaying “not secure” in the browser bar for any HTTP sites that ask users for login or credit card information.
I don’t know about you; but when I’m about to make an online purchase and see that it isn’t secure; I navigate my business elsewhere.
And I’m not alone. In fact, only 3% of online shoppers say they would enter their credit card information on a site without the green padlock.
Imagine if Google starts doing that work for users before they can even get to checkout. Suppose the number is as low as 3% now before search engines start doing the legwork to label sites as “not secure” before they even visit them. In that case; you can see how traffic to those sites will suffer a considerable blow and its digital sales revenue.
How HTTPS Works
Now that you have an idea of what HTTPS is; why it is essential let’s take a deep dive into how it works.
First, let’s define a few key terms:
- Digital certificate: a digital certificate, also known as a public key certificate or identity certificate; is an attachment to an electronic message that is used to verify the identity of the sender; as well as provide the receiver with a way to encode their reply. This certificate is issued by a Certifying Authority (CA), which retains the applicant’s public key and other identification details. The public key of the CA is openly available on the internet.
- Digital signature: A digital signature is a means of ensuring that the contents of the message of an online document have not been tampered with during transmission.
- Symmetric encryption: In symmetric encryption, the same key is used for both the encryption and the decryption of the data. Both the sender and the receiver need to have the shared key to encrypt and decrypt the messages exchanged between them.
- Asymmetric encryption: In asymmetric encryption, a pair of keys (one to encrypt the data and the other to decrypt the encrypted the data) are used. The one used to encrypt the information is called the public key, and the one used to decrypt the information is called the private key.
There you have it. If you want your SEO to stay strong — on both desktop and mobile — and you don’t want to lose digital sales revenue, it’s easy to see why https should be enabled on your website.
These are just a few reasons why https is so essential. What are yours? Let us know in the comments.