Before we begin asking whether SSL/HTTPS affects SEO, let’s look at what SSL, HTTPS is all about.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is the standard technology for keeping an Internet connection secure. This also helps to safeguard any sensitive data, including personal details, that is being sent between two systems. This means, this sensitive data sent cannot be modified by others’ intervention.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS is Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. This is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http). It is used for secure communication over a computer network, and is widely used on Internet.
From above, an obvious question that we need to ask is “What exactly is the difference!” But that is for another article and is a bit more tech savvy one, which may not be of much significance for this article.
What matters is to know whether SSL/HTTPS affects SEO?
Here we have mentioned 3 Key Reasons why we think this affects SEO.
However, one take-away that we get from above definitions is that, it has to do with Security. But then, SEO & Security seems to be unrelated terms. But, quite not so. Here are 3 reasons why it is not so. (There are many more):
1. Site Abandonment:
Let’s assume an e-commerce site with awesome and valuable products and has not implemented SSL/HTTPS, i.e. it is not a Secure Site. Let us consider a user visits such a website and tries to do a purchase. He or she before entering the Credit Card or PayPal credentials, finds that it is a “non-secure” one. This just zaps away the confidence to key in such confidential information, like credit card details, to go forward with the purchase.
The result? Site Abandonment.
This affects not only the sales. The users immediately opt for a similar or competitor website for their purchases. This results in a big drop in traffic in the future for the one reason — This website is a non-secure one.
2. Browser Intimation:
If the user is using a Chrome browser, then an intimation like the below is shown.
This points out to the user that the web page is “insecure”. This discourages the user from proceeding with the website.
You may say: “Hey! But who cares! I don’t have an e-commerce site and doesn’t affect me.”
Well, irrespective of the type of the site, most users will shy away from an insecure website. They will not be spending much time on your website. This would result in a spike in the bounce rate, directly affecting the ranking of the website. Going forward, the ranking in the search engine for the respective keywords will fall.
3. Google’s SSL/HTTPS Algorithm:
Let us see how SEO gets affected from a Search Engine’s perspective. Way back in 2014, Google had intimated about a ranking boost to Secure HTTPS/SSL Sites. Over the years, we have observed websites with SSL/HTTPS shown in first page results.
Now, it is 2019, and is shocking for us that scores of websites have not been migrated to SSL/HTTPS. There are many more reasons that we can cite to prove how SSL/HTTPS affects SEO. However, we often wonder whether it is the lack of a good SEO expert’s advice the reason why this transition has not happened yet.
If you are finding yourself in such a position, do not relent to move your website to a secure one. If you need help in moving your website to SSL/HTTPS, reach us here.