3 Reasons You Should Add HTTPS to Your Local Business Website

3 Reasons You Should Add HTTPS to Your Local Business Website
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When it comes to ranking higher on local search results, it could all come down to one letter: an “S”. If you and a rival are battling it out for a prime search keyword position, having https instead of http before the www. in your domain could be all it takes to tip you over the edge and claim top billing.

So says Google’s Gary Illyes, who told Bruce Clay in 2015 that when two web pages are otherwise equal, the search engine prefers HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) sites, pushing the secure domain to the head of the line.

In addition to the potential boost in search rankings, there are lots of reasons why you should consider switching your site from http to https. Here are three reasons why switching your site to the secure protocol is a smart move.

What is HTTPS? Why Use HTTPS vs. HTTP? And What Are the Benefits of Switching?

Hubspot senior staff writer Amanda Zantel Wiener has a handy definition of what https means, “If you’re anything like me, there’s been a time in your life when you’ve asked, “What the heck is https?”

“What’s that extra “S” for? Well, it turns out that the “s” stands for “SSL”, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This is the technology that encrypts your connection to a website, so that hackers can’t intercept any of your data.”

Essentially the “S” is an internet security measure and a way to keep your site and any sensitive information, like customer payment details or account login information, secure.

Here are three reasons why switching to a secure site will benefit your local business.

  1. HTTPS can help with SEO

The security tiebreaker approach means that if your site and another site are essentially comparable and vying for top ranking for a particular keyword, the addition of https in your domain could be enough to give you the edge and secure the top spot. It’s thought that this particular algorithm ties into the nexus of what makes most of Google’s algorithms tick – the desire to offer its users the best possible user experience. And a secure experience is generally preferred over a non-secure experience.

  1. It helps keep your website secure

Kayce Basques, a technical writer at Google, says all websites, even those not handling sensitive data, should use https for protection purposes, saying “One common misconception about HTTPS is that the only websites that need HTTPS are those that handle sensitive communications. Every unprotected HTTP request can potentially reveal information about the behaviors and identities of your users.”

The security protocol protects the integrity of the website by helping to prevent intruders tampering with communications between the site and the visitors browsing (a common tactic here is injecting malware) as well as safeguarding privacy and security.

It makes sense that there are a host of benefits for making a site more secure, chief among them is the ability to safeguard sensitive data and the peace of mind that comes from knowing the domain is protected from disasters such as malicious ads or spyware being injected into the site and displayed to users when communications aren’t protected. There are a few other compelling reasons why you’d be wise to protect your small business website, and chief among them is the switch to a mobile-first mentality.

  1. AMP requires https

If you’re serious about search, selling or being found online, you have to jump on the mobile revolution bandwagon. Much has been said and written about the need to make websites mobile responsive and mobile friendly. Technical considerations such as page loading speed are par for the course. The advent of Google’s mobile friendly index has shone the spotlight on AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) once again.

Google developed AMP to ensure that content loads faster on mobile devices. AMP content appears prominently in the search results and is designed for the users who go online on a mobile device. AMP has an important role to play in optimizing for mobile and it needs https to work.

Increasingly, modern browsers and most progressive web apps require https to perform properly, so if you haven’t yet added https to your website, it could be only a matter of time before you have little choice in the matter.

Digital marketing expert Neil Patel of QuickSprout.com has a detailed post which outlines how to make the switch from a standard http to the more secure https if you’re ready to take the next step. You should also reach out to your hosting company before making the change because they’ll be able to provide you with expert guidance based on what they know about your site.

What do you think?

Are you convinced to add https to your small business website? Have you already made the switch? If so, what benefits have you experienced? We’d love to hear your comments so please do share your experiences with us.

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10 thoughts on “3 Reasons You Should Add HTTPS to Your Local Business Website”

  1. Hi,

    thanks for the article. There are evenmore arguments:
    – can help branding (in highest certification level, a company icon is displayed in the browser’s addess field)
    – Analytics: If you’re not in https, you are blind with respect to referrers who are (except few)

  2. If your web site is for information only and does not sell anything then staying with HTTP rather than HTTPS will make your site much more available .
    HTTPS make local authentication very difficult for hotspot redirection.
    We have had to drop google.com and chrome as our defaultse because they force uses to HTTPS and so cannot access the hotspot portal of a major equipment provider.

    1. Bob…Word is regardless of whether or not you sell things from your site or not, Google will be pushing you to make a secure HTTPS site. It’s unfortunate — because it’s not as simple as just getting an SSL certificate. You have to redirect all your non-secure pages, re-do your XML sitemap and SO much more. Google is already starting to show “Not Secure” in search results. — Sherry

    2. That’s a good point but I’m afraid that Google is probably going to win-out over the “major equipment provider” and that they will ultimately have to “get with the program”, so-to-speak. The best advice is geared toward a realistic future. Just my 2 cents.

  3. Great pointers here! I haven’t tried AMP yet, I was about to start setting that up, but I heard that we should wait a few months before doing so as they are still updating elements of AMP. I updated my site to HTTPS a month or so ago and so far so good.

    Also 2 more interesting facts about why we should switch over to HTTPS:

    1. More than 50% of Google page rankings are HTTPS sites according to MOZ.

    2. As of October 2017 Chrome and other browsers will be showing ‘Not secure’ to websites that have contact forms. Currently, they show this to http sites that ask for credit card details or passwords, but they are expanding this to any communication data transferred.

    1. Robyn, you are exactly right! Pretty soon Google will almost make it “mandatory” for a business to have a secure site. I’m curious how your transfer went? Seamless? Was it almost like building a new site with all the redirects needed? Would love to learn more. — Sherry

  4. I moved from http to https but I lost my alexa ranking. In my opinion if you are having only information related blog or website, avoid moving to https.

    1. I agree that changing from a non-secure site to a site can be challenging. It’s not as simple as just getting an secure certificate — but it IS important (especially if you sell things on your site.) There’s rumors that in the next year Google will actually penalize sites that AREN’T HTTPs. (Something worth thinking about.) We appreciate your feedback. — Sherry

  5. Good article. Main reason why we haven’t done it is because of the slight decrease of speed that happens when you go to https. Will look into it again. Also our website is fully responsive and ranks well on mobile, so have not seen any negative AMP effects so far.

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