Back in 2014 Google announced that it would give a slight seo advantage to website owners who demonstrated that their websites were secure and carried an SSL certificate.
As of October 2017 anyone who uses the popular Google Chrome internet browser will be faced with a warning sign advising that the website is insecure if no HTTPS is found. This could potentially turn visitors away and cause lost revenue to their businesses.
For some people who just have something like a WordPress blog or information site this isn’t an issue as they may not be selling products or taking any vital customer details but for those that do, the risk losing potential business. It is also reported that the webmaster tools (now Search Console) will also be advising site owners to update to HTTPS although we haven’t come across this just yet.
Most hosting companies can offer Free basic SSL certificates which are more than adequate to overcome the issue but it isn’t all that simple. Google treats a HTTPS site as a totally different site to your original HTTP and therefore to avoid messy changes and possible site duplication then a plan of action needs to be put into place.
The migration to HTTPS needs careful consideration to avoid any issues with ranking or your regular organic traffic. A full list of all the URL’s should be made and re-directions to the HTTPS URL should be set up in preparation. All image paths need to be converted and any links from social sites pointing back to your main website need to be amended to avoid any “mixed content ” issues. WordPress admin details need to be changed to the new HTTPS.
There is always a risk of a stray unchanged HTTP so a careful SEO report needs to be carried out to ensure all of the loose ends have been cleared up. A tool like SEO PowerSuite has a great range of tools to take away some of the pain of this migration and has some purpose built features for this entire take – in terms of checking the URL structures. They also wrote an excellent article about the issues face with moving to a HTTPS – have a read.
If you are still thinking should I convert to HTTPS? Well the answer is simply “Yes”. It is far easier to do now than wait until the next enforcement from the mighty Google.
Our advice is to make your website secure with a HTTPS to provide a positive experience to your site visitors