HTTP, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, and HTTPS, its secure counterpart (where the “S” stands for “Secure”), are both protocols used for transmitting data over the web. These protocols determine how data is sent between your web browser and the website you’re visiting.
HTTPS differs from HTTP in that it uses encryption to secure data transfer, ensuring that the data remains confidential and hasn’t been tampered with during transmission. This encryption is especially crucial for sites where sensitive information, such as personal details or credit card numbers, is shared. Websites that employ HTTPS do so with the help of an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate, which both authenticates the website’s identity and facilitates the encryption process.
From an SEO perspective, HTTPS has become increasingly significant. In 2014, Google announced that HTTPS would be used as a ranking signal, thereby giving a slight ranking advantage to websites that use a secure connection. The main reason for this is user safety. Google aims to make the web a more secure environment, and by prioritizing sites that use HTTPS, they incentivize webmasters to adopt this secure protocol.
Beyond the direct ranking benefit, HTTPS also impacts SEO in other ways. Users are more likely to trust and engage with secure sites. Suppose a site is marked as “not secure” in the browser. In that case, it can deter users from staying on the page or interacting with its content, leading to higher bounce rates and potentially impacting SEO negatively. Additionally, HTTPS ensures your site’s integrity, ensuring that the users get the site as you intended without interference.
In summary, while HTTP and HTTPS are protocols for data transmission on the web, their relevance to SEO is rooted in Google’s push for a safer internet. Adopting HTTPS provides a direct SEO advantage and fosters trust and ensures the integrity of interactions with website visitors.