In 2014, Google has announced that switching to HTTPS – that is, adding an SSL key certificate to websites – will be given a ranking boost. While they have reiterated that it will only have slight effect on a website’s overall ranking signal (still putting much weight on high-quality content), it was quite obvious that they have started prioritising indexing secure pages over unsecured ones.
Indeed, in an age where hackers, phishers, and doxxers have become increasingly clever when it comes to stealing compromising information, web security has become an imperative. However, it seems that only 0.1% of all websites that exists have made the move to HTTPS.
If you are still hesitating to migrate to HTTPS, or indeed if you are still in the process of creating your website, here are some of the reasons why you must make sure your website is secure through the HTTPS protocol.
Benefits of making the move to HTTPS
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS is an Internet communication protocol that protects information that is being exchanged between a website’s server and a user’s computer. This information is protected by a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – a technology that creates a 2048-bit key to encrypt the data.
Google has helpfully pointed out three key layers of protection when a website owner’s adapts the HTTPS protocol:
- Encryption – keeping the date secure from hackers, phishers, and doxxers while a user is browsing a website
- Data Integrity – data being exchanges will not be tampered with during the exchange
- Authentication – protects against attacks and ensures that users are truly communication with the website and not with a harmful “middle man”
How the encryption process works
The SSL 2048-bit certificate creates two cryptographic keys called the Public Key and the Private Key.
Public Key – This involves all information that does not need to be confidential like domain name and its expiration date, company name, and so on; and these are then placed in a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). Once you buy an SSL Certificate, your details will have to be verified by a Certification Authority. Once your request has been approved, your web server will generate the Private Key – this is what creates the encrypted connection between the web server and the user’s computer.
The encryption happens when the SSL puts random characters in the date being exchanged between the server and the user. By doing this, the date will remain unreadable until it reaches its intended destination. Only those with the right encryption key will be able to open or read the data. We have to understand that information on the Internet gets divided into packets of information and does not pass through one path, and encrypting these packets of information makes it incomprehensible until it reaches its stop.
Websites that are secure are marked with the words “Secure” in green lettering and a padlock right next to the URL. If the website is not secure, they will be tagged with a “Not Secure” in bright red and an unlocked padlock.
As was mentioned, Google has prioritised indexing websites that have made the move to HTTPS. Not to mention, users know how to check if a website they are visiting is secure other than the tagging Google has made. Having a secure website indeed builds trust and ensures an increase in return visitors. So consider this when you check your website again – making the move to a secure protocol will definitely show your visitors that you value information safety above all else.