These days, data security and privacy is one of the main concerns while using the internet. It feels like search engines and telecom giants are keeping track of our each and every move. It feels like we’re being watched – All. The. Time. Digital marketing companies have it easy nowadays when it comes to designing strategies, thanks to the ocean of data that is available because more than 87% internet users ignore the security warning that comes on a webpage. It is apparent when it comes to tailored ads and suggested pages to like and handles to follow on social networking sites. Websites track our moves.
One of the best practices to have a secure web-page is having https link instead of our normal http.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, is like http, but secure. The S at the end means Secure. It is a web protocol on which all the data sent between the browser and the website is encrypted. The address bar of https websites specifically marks those sites as secure and there’s a green padlock before the link. Https is mostly used for the sites dealing in online transactions, like banking and shopping online. However, in the view of the data breach and security, all the websites are now advised to switch to https.
The data sent over an http connection is in a plain text format. If someone manages to break into the connection, the messages can be read easily by them. This is especially a matter of concern when it comes to online transactions and confidential information. However, if the connection is https, the data is secure. Even if hackers manage to sneak in the connection, the data can’t be read.
Https webpages generally use either of these two protocols –
SSL – Secure Sockets Layer Or
TLS – Transport Layer Security.
Both of these protocols use asymmetric PKI system.
Why switch to https?
The communication sent using https provides three-tier protection –
When a user is surfing the net or browsing the website, Encryption makes it totally private. That is, nobody else can keep a watch / eavesdrop on the conversation, monitor the activities on the page, or access the information that is meant to be confidential. Some of the industry experts and people in the business argue that websites for blog and other such informational content can avoid the https protocol. Sure, there are no private details on them. However, the login details of the owners are important and thus, https should always be preferred.
Another important advantage is the integrity. When using this protocol, the data cannot be modified or get corrupted during the transfer from the browser to the server. Thus it ensures the non-corrupt, authentic data transfer. Hackers can modify / delete the data on a webpage if not secure and it can reflect badly on the website’s SEO and the brand image as well. Https helps you avoid this.
Many a times, there’s confusion between the exact websites; the reasons can be varied. But when on secure protocol, there’s an authenticity that users are on the exact intended website. It helps build trust among the user and benefits the business.
Better SEO Ranking
Though https protocol is not a major ranking signal, it is still a 7th important factor when it comes to site ranking. It is a lightweight signal. However, with more number of people being aware about the security issues, they prefer a website that is secure and that ensures data safety. So in turn, the websites that are preferred by the users are preferred by Google too. Moreover, Google always gives preference to the sites that are more secure and up to the security standards set by Google.
Enhanced referral data
Https to http referral data, which plays an important role in SEO is blocked in Google Analytics. Meaning – If a website is on http protocol and the content from the same goes viral on Facebook or Twitter, the referral data is lost because both of the above sites run on https. The traffic from both the sites will be considered as one, which may not prove helpful.
Building credibility and trust
More than 77% of the internet users are concerned about the data that they share online. Whatsapp has a similar feature (or atleast they state so) that the data is end-to-end encrypted and is completely secure. Https ensures the security and thus builds credibility and trust among the users. Consumer trust in more important than ever, given the amount of options that are available; your brand is no more irreplaceable. So it is always wise to take care of the users.
If you have already made a decision to switch your site to the more secure protocol, it’s great. However, please bear in mind that that when there’s a switch from http to https, search engines like Google treat this as a URL change. It may affect the traffic numbers for some time. So do not be worried about it for a few days.
Switching to https is not mandatory as of now, but soon, it will be a most preferred way. So it’s a great idea to switch to https, considering the digital awareness of the internet users, and also because Google recommends so!