HTTPS secures the connection to the website you are visiting. I’m sure you have seen this in action; look at the address bar in the browser and find the lock icon on the left-hand side. Is the lock closed? Then the connection is secure. Is it open, or is there another type of icon or message? Then it’s not secure and vulnerable to attack. Using a site over a non-secure connection means hackers/criminals could intercept the data you send to the site, like your password and email address. Here, I’ll explain what HTTPS is and why it plays a role in (technical) SEO.
Table of contents
- HTTP vs HTTPS
- How does it benefit your user?
- How does it benefit SEO?
- Make the switch to HTTPS
- HTTPS is the default
HTTP vs HTTPS
When you type in a URL in the search bar, your browser asks the site for its IP address – for instance, 123.456.7.89. This number is the actual address that a site gets online. The browser connects to this number in the hopes this is the correct site. This is all done in plain sight, and there is no encryption to be seen so that everyone can intercept this traffic. So when you want to log in to a site that you connect to via an HTTP connection, the data you enter – username and password – is sent in plain text. Trust me that isn’t good. Think about what would happen if you’d connect to your bank this way.
HTTPS secures this process. It encrypts the connection between the browser and the site, making sure that no one can intercept the data sent between those two. Every site that wants to secure itself needs a so-called SSL certificate. The browser checks the certificate of the site and verifies its legitimacy with the company that issued it. If you want to see who issued the certificate, please click on the lock icon. Using HTTPS, sites secure your login procedure and personal data and what you do on a site, and which sites you visit.
Besides securing the web, HTTPS is necessary for sites that want to upgrade to a new, safer, and much faster internet protocol called HTTP/2. HTTP/2 includes different new technologies that make sites a lot faster to load.