A few years ago, Google announced that the HTTPS/HTTP factor would be used as a ranking factor in its SEO algorithm. This announcement changed the course of SEO and website security. Webmasters had to install the certificates in their quest to rank high on the search engine results pages. Today, if the HTTP/HTTPS factor was to be used as the sole determinant of web security, it would be easy to conclude that the world wide web is secure. As of 30th March 2022, BuiltWith had detected 175,961,943 SSL certificates. Unfortunately, having an SSL certificate is not the only determinant of security, and neither is it the only determinant of web visibility. Several factors come into play.
Most website owners have heeded the call to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS by buying an SSL certificate. Even so, there is still confusion about what type of SSL certificate is ideal for SEO. For instance, whereas some vendors will lure you into purchasing an expensive multi-domain SSL certificate, some will tell you that a cheap certificate. So, which aspect should you choose to believe? This article explains the HTTP/HTTPS factor in SEO and tells you which type of SSL certificate is good for your SEO strategy.
Understanding the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS
HTTP and HTTPS are the two systems that facilitate internet communications by sending and receiving information between web servers and browsers. HTTP stands for Hypertext transfer protocol, while HTTPS stands for Hypertext transfer protocol Secure. The major difference between the two is the S which means secure. It means that HTTPS transfers information more securely than HTTP.
HTTPS was developed as a more secure version of HTTP. It allows authorization and complete security to transactions. It uses the SSL certificate to secure information by concealing it from unintended parties. In a nutshell, HTTPS uses encryption algorithms to secure data between two communicating ends. Encryption is where raw texts are converted into ciphertexts (unreadable format). To convert the ciphertext to a decipherable format, one will need decryption keys. With encryption, even if a hacker accesses the data, the hacker will not be able to read or understand what the data entails, meaning that the data remains safe.
On the contrary, HTTP transfers data in raw texts. Such unencrypted data can easily be accessed and used for malicious purposes.
HTTP and HTTPS In SEO
It comes as no surprise that Google favors websites that are more secure when ranking pages. Not just anyone can have an SSL certificate for their website. In fact, the SSL acquisition process involves a vigorous vetting procedure that sees only genuine website owners issued with SSL certificates. Web browsers will recognize such websites as secure and will use the information to ascertain that the website is exactly what it claims to be.
Search engines such as Google now use HTTP as one of their ranking signals. Whether or not sensitive information is involved, a website that switches from HTTP to HTTPS will benefit greatly. A quick look into the top search engines results pages shows that most web pages now run on the HTTPS protocol. Furthermore, in a situation where two sites have equaled in all the other ranking factors, the availability or absence of the SSL certificate will be used as a tiebreaker, and the HTTPS site will emerge as the winner.
A previous survey conducted to establish the impact of HTTPS on SEO reveals that there is a positive correlation between HTTPS and high rankings in search engines. Visibility in search engines is a very vital success factor. If you are looking to increase your ranks, you have no choice but to buy an SSL certificate and make the HTTP to HTTPS migration.
Which SSL Certificate Should I Use for SEO?
You now understand the essence of SSL certificates in SEO. The big question now is the type of SSL certificate you need for your website. You must know that all SSL certificates offer SEO advantages in equal measure. However, different websites have different needs, which is why you need a certificate that fulfills those needs. For instance, if you are a startup and have a low budget then, you should go with low-priced certs like cheap positive SSL, RapidSSL certificate, and Thawte SSL certificate, which could be a great idea if you operate a single domain website. If your website has a single domain but several subdomains, you must consider going for a wildcard SSL certificate. In the case of many domains, you should consider going for a multi-domain certificate.
Every website owner desires to increase their visibility by hitting the top search engine results pages. Similarly, they want their website to remain as secure as possible. The SSL certificate is a versatile security tool that initiates the secure HTTPS transfer protocols. Having the HTTPS symbol alone in your URL is enough to convince Google to take you a few positions up on the results pages. If you plan to start a website, make sure you increase your visibility by buying an SSL certificate. This article has explained the HTTP/HTTPS factor in SEO.