It’s been two years since google announced that HTTPS would become a ranking system and called for HTTPS to become the standard for everywhere on the web. In that time Google has implemented multiple algorithm updates that reward HTTPS and site adoption is really starting to gain traction, so much in fact that 30% of front page traffic on Google search results is now secure.
While there is a general understanding that we need to secure sites that hold financial information or even personal information, Google tells us “You should always protect all of your websites with HTTPS, even if they don’t handle sensitive communications. HTTPS provides critical security and data integrity both for your websites and for the people that entrust your websites with their personal information…HTTPS prevents intruders from being able to passively listen in on the communications between your websites and your users.”
Do you really need HTTPS?
Even if your site is simply an online brochure, having SSL (SSL is a type of certificate used to authenticate HTTPS) provides your visitors peace of mind that malicious software is not accessing their browsing history and revealing information about their behaviours and identities.
There are also the Google benefits. Google has confirmed HTTPS as a ranking signal, meaning it will be rewarding HTTPS sites by placing them higher in the Search rankings.
Should I change my website?
At this level of uptake it’s probably 18 months until we hit tipping point and Google will tweak its algorithm to actually start punishing sites that don’t use HTTPS. So you have time but if you are building a new website or interested in squeezing every last bit of optimisation to help your site rank better maybe it’s worth having that conversation with your host or development partner.
Balancing the minimal cost against the security and Google ranking benefits – it is starting to become a must-have moving forward.