Last year, Google announced that by switching from HTTP/2 to HTTPS you could benefit from a small ranking boost. This all sounds great, but what does it all really mean and is switching over to HTTPS really worth it?
In this blog, we look at the differences between HTTP, HTTP2 and HTTPS, exploring the pros and cons of making such a change to your website.
What are HTTP, HTTP2 & HTTPS?
HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol, whereas HTTPS is short for secure hypertext transfer protocol. They each work to ensure that the data on your site reaches the user in good form and time.
What’s the difference?
When it comes down to it, the two are essentially the same, aside from a couple of key differences.
HTTP focuses on how the information on a website is presented, and how it gets from a to b. In fact, HTTP remembers very little of previous web sessions, which is great for web speed, but not so great for security.
HTTP2 is the latest revised version of HTTP, and was developed with the aim of improving the overall performance of websites, specifically the speed in which they load. After all, Google loves a fast loading time.
HTTPS works in a similar way as HTTP, but offers an extra layer of security by using an SSL to move the data. SSL, or secure sockets layer, gets the data safely from one spot to another and Google is a big fan of this.
What are the benefits of switching?
The key benefits of making the switch are the better rankings, the fact that referrer data is preserved, and the level of security and privacy for your website and its users. It means that not only will your website land more favourably with Google, but it’ll avoid tampering from third parties, and all communication will be encrypted. Not only that, but as of April 2017, half of page 1 Google results are now HTTPS, meaning that more businesses than ever are taking notice of this current trend.
Are there any cons?
As with everything, there are cons to making the switch to HTTPS, and many big brands still haven’t made the change yet. To start, you may experience a slower load time on your website because of the extra layer of security. There’s also an added cost when purchasing an SSL certificate, so this is something you need to consider when planning a change. Finally, during the transition mistakes may happen, so it’s always good to follow Google’s helpful tips on how to make the big switch.
Google’s top tips:
- Make sure you obtain a security certificate from the Certificate Authority (CA).
- By using a server side 301 redirect, your users and any search engines will be sent to the HTTPS page or server side 301.
- Double check that your HTTPS pages can be crawled and indexed by Google.
- Finally, Google recommends that your HTTPS site supports HSTS. This will ensure that users are sent to your HTTPS site, even if they type in HTTP/2.
Need some advice on whether to make the switch? Or maybe you just want to discuss SEO. Whichever it is, don’t hesitate to call or email us – we love a good chat!