HTTP VS HTTPS – Which One is the Right Choice for SEO?

Which protocol should you use between the two HTTP vs HTTPS? It is not a mystery anymore that secure website will have a good chance of ranking high in search. However, in some cases, you can use HTTP as well where you don’t ask people to submit their personal details through forms. We will dig deeper into both of these protocols and how can they impact SEO.

As a small business, you should understand the difference between HTTP and HTTPS so that you can use either one of these according to your website structure and needs.

It is important to learn why Google favors HTTPS over HTTP and gives it a slight privilege over the latter. But before we jump to choosing between the two protocols, learning the basic difference between the two protocols is necessary. Let’s dig deeper into the topic.

What is HTTP?


In simple words, it is a method to encode information and transport it between a web browser and web server. To transmit information across the Internet HTTP is a primary protocol. When a user opens their Internet browser, they are basically using the HTTP.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS icon

On the other hand, HTTPS is a ‘secured’ extension of HTTP. It establishes the connection to website server over the same TCP/IP protocols, however, it adds an extra Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to safely transfer data over the servers in encrypted form. HTTPS allows authorization and to carry safe transaction over the internet such as online banking, credit card details or shopping carts.

HTTPS not only enables the proper presentation of data at the user end but additional SSL certificate makes sure the data is transferred securely from one system to the other.

HTTPS Privilege

HTTPS or ‘secured HTTP’ main element is securely transmitting data. It is used on every other website that involves authorization such as your email clients, social media platforms, making online banking transactions or purchasing something on an e-commerce website using your credit card information.

The main benefit of using HTTPS is encryption. All the data being transmitted through HTTPS is encrypted. This data cannot be modified or corrupted during the transmission.

Most browser these days indicate secure/unsecured website in the address bar. Any website that is using HTTPS is considered secure and if it’s using HTTP, the browser will indicate it in the address bar.

Since Google’s emphasize on better user experience, therefore the obvious choice to make your website secure for users. It will also improve your brand reputation.

SEO benefit of switching to HTTPS

SEO benefits of using HTTPS

The most obvious reason for switching to HTTPS is ‘security’. After all, we really appreciate having our site appearing secure in the browser. But apart from security, there are a couple of more reasons to consider switching to HTTPS to reinforce your site rankings.

Boost SERP ranking

With Google’s announcement to give a slight bump to HTTPS sites, it can lead to persistent boost as secured sites receives more web traffic. It gives an assurance to the user that the site they are visiting is safe.

Referrer data

If you use plain HTTP site, the security data of referrer sources will not be preserved in Google analytics. Rather they will appear just as ‘direct traffic’. HTTPS increases the efficacy of Google Analytics in that the security data of the website that referred to your site is saved. That really seals the deal for HTTPS.

Privacy and Security

HTTPS helps in SEO in several ways such as with encrypted data, users’ data like passwords or credit card information is not at disposal of an intrusion. Additionally, the user builds confidence and trust with your site, knowing that their browsing history is preserved and any information they enter is not at risk. This potentially results in conversions from a visitor to a sales lead. HTTPS also prevents interfering by third parties.

SEO concerns with HTTPS Migration

While the switch to HTTPS is worth it, but there are some of the concerns which you should keep in view while switching from HTTP to HTTPS.

Add HTTPS property to Google Search Console. Add your website HTTPS website property in Google Search Console. Also, make sure to notify the recommended website version you want Google to show data in GSC.

Additional certificates. It’s not just SSL certificate that you only need. There are a couple of other certificates necessary for the purpose. These include:

1. Single Domain certificate, issued for one domain or subdomain.
2. Multiple Domain certificates, also known as a Unified Communications certificate, enables securing a primary domain name and upwards of 99 additional Subject Alternative Names.
3. Wildcard certificate secure website URL as well as unlimited subdomains.

Allow Google to crawl up your website. If Google is unable to do so using robots.txt for the purpose, this could seriously jeopardize your site ranking. Therefore, you must update your test server to allow bots to crawl up your website.

Smooth transition. You must vigilantly analyze the switching process from HTTP to HTTPS via Google Search Console to make sure everything goes smoothly and proactively resolve issues as soon as they occur during the process.

Migration to HTTPs is a painstaking job but it’s worth the effort to improve your site ratings. Just make sure that you try out every link on the site to check that everything works properly. Any poor user experience will impact your site rankings the other way around.

If you are looking for any help with the SEO, then please feel free to check out affordable SEO services and get a quote.

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Published by Azib Yaqoob

Azib Yaqoob is a digital marketing specialist who writes about SEO, website optimization and conversion hacks on this blog. Learn more about Azib.

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