What is HTTPS & Why Does Your Company Need It?

You’re probably familiar with HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), but you might not know what it entails. HTTP allows users to communicate with a website via their web browser. Because HTTP data is sent in plain text, anyone who intercepts the connection can see what’s being searched and sent. This is particularly scary when you consider how often your users and your company submit sensitive information online. For this reason, protocols require additional security measures.

‘S’ is for Secure

Here’s where Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure comes in. It operates using Secure Sockets Layers (SSL), also known as Transport Layer Security (TLS), which utilize separate protocols for protection, rather than HTTP which relies merely on the application’s own layer protocol. HTTPS encrypts communication end to end. Therefore only a user’s computer and the webserver are privy to the transmitted data. Plus, HTTPS promises server authenticity, which is a huge plus for companies who employ the secure protocol.

Thanks to SSL, HTTPS provides an added security detail — a lock icon displays in the address bar to, in effect, endorse the server. And because security is a top priority for Google, it’s no surprise the search engine rewards sites that use HTTPS. Conversely, sites without a secure protocol will not rank as high, and a red ‘X’ will display over the lock icon in the address bar. It’s not likely users will click through to your site as it will appear unreliable. To that end, HTTPS has implications on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), in particular your company’s search results ranking.

Just When You Thought You Knew Everything About SEO…

When it comes to SEO, the practice is almost as simple as obeying whatever Google’s algorithms require. But while ranking high is an obvious motivator, it isn’t the only one. Employing HTTPS ensures secure information transmission to and from your company’s webserver, which makes your site more trustworthy and more appealing to consumers.

Since the secure protocol is just now gaining traction, websites with an encrypted connection offer only a lightweight signal. This means that applying HTTPS alone won’t immediately rank your company’s site at the number one spot. However, if a competitor’s site and yours rank similarly in all other aspects, HTTPS will be the deciding factor in top results. In an effort to encourage HTTPS conversion, Google’s current algorithm is designed to allow a period for transition. During this time sites can switch to the secure protocol. When the transitional period ends and Google once again modifies its ever-changing algorithm, the HTTPS ranking signal is expected to strengthen, furthering your need for a secure transfer protocol.

How JTR’s SEO Services Can Help

Whether your company needs to convert from HTTP to HTTPS, or if your current HTTPS is flawed (which it likely is…1 in 10 sites are), JTR Solutions will get you on track. Our SEO Experts stay up to date on all of Google’s algorithm changes, and they’re exceedingly experienced at setting up secure protocols. JTR Solutions ensures only one canonical version of your company’s site is available through proper permanent redirects, directing users to the correct content, further enhancing SEO results. And we don’t stop there. JTR’s Fully Managed team employs all SEO best practices, so that your site hits on each of Google’s signals, thus increasing your results ranking and web traffic.

Take advantage of the limited time Google is allowing for HTTPS transition, and provide a secure site for your users. Appoint JTR Solutions for proper initial setup, or to fix your existing flawed HTTPS. This, along with all of JTR’s other SEO best practices will keep you in Google’s good graces and set you apart from the competition.

Amanda J. Rebuck
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