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What Small Business Owners Need To Know About HTTP vs HTTPS

Way back in August of 2014, Google officially announced they would be using HTTPS as a ranking signal, and that switching your website from HTTP over to HTTPS may give you a minor boost in ranking. Earlier this year, Small Business Trends published an article advising “HTTPS Sites Now 25 Percent of Top Google Search Results.” The question is, should small business owners invest in HTTPS secure websites? If so, why? And what are some of the things you need to know?

First, let’s make sure everyone has a better understanding of the basics regarding HTTP & HTTPS websites. If you look at the beginning of any web address, you’ll be able to see whether a site is using HTTP or HTTPS.

What’s the Difference

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web and has been around for a number of years. It’s known to be fast and reliable; however, there are many ways to hack into data being transferred via http. This can create a problem when there’s a need to protect the data and or communication being sent and or transferred between the user and your website.

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), on the other hand, is a protocol for secure internet communication between the customers’ and or user’s’ computer / tablet / cell phone and your site. When using https, it means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted to ensure everything is secure.

Why Should Small Businesses Use HTTPS?

  • Authentication that lets people know the website they’re talking to is legit
  • Protects the integrity of your website by preventing anyone from tampering with the content being passed between your website and the user’s’ computer  
  • Secures privacy and security of others as communication is passed between your website and their computer and or cell phone  

HTTPS, SEO & Marketing

  • Preserves Google Analytics data accuracy when users cross from HTTPS over to HTTP sites
  • While only 10% of URLs on the web are HTTPS, 30% of Page One Google Results have HTTPS URLs
  • Implement 301 redirects on a page-by-page basis if urls structure changes, otherwise work with your server admin to redirect all your site’s pages from http to https.
  • Update links being used in email marketing campaigns and other marketing automation tools
  • Be sure to update landing pages in Google Adwords as well as any other paid search platforms being used
  • HTTPS site set up in Google Analytics, Google Search Console (also known as Google Webmaster Tools)

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