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The Current State of HTTPS in 2018 – Should Websites Migrate?

It isn’t very often when people take SEO recommendations seriously. This is especially true when there aren’t any downright consequences for not following certain recommendations. In fact, it’s quite rare that people listen to these SEO recommendations at all…

With that being said, it came as to no surprise when in 2014 Google established/confirmed HTTPS as a ranking mark. In short, Google was recommending for all websites to migrate to HTTPS for the mere sanctity of users’ security. However, just a few websites perceived this recommendation as a direct instruction and went on as usual.

Per a research in 2014 conducted by Stone Temple Marketing, which studied approximately 200,000 sites – just a tiny bit of a minority of 0.3 percent had migrated to HTTPS at this juncture.

For a few years after this research – the pace of the HTTPS adaptation was passive at best. However, Google was patient and continued sending out this recommendation in regards to the need of a more secure internet,  which included websites that users would input personal information.

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On September 2016 – Google decided to make yet a further announcement, which stated that at the beginning of January 2017, that they were going to be flagging all the non secured sites that were visited utilizing the Chrome browser.

This latest announcement by Google basically meant that a warning would begin to appear on HTTP web pages in the following cases listed below:

  • If the website had credit card input fields or if users had to put password information.
  • If the website required any type of entry fields.
  • If the website was visited utilizing the Incognito mode.

Keeping to their word – Google first implemented this warning in the form of a gray warning sign in Chrome’s address field. Once a user visited a site – they were prompted with the warning that the website was not secured. Google’s final step was taking the warning to its next level, which was to mark these messages/warnings in red.

Needless to say, these warnings were much more obvious and harder to ignore. This warning was sending a concise message to users, which basically stated: “leave this website or you’ll be risking having personal information exposed publicly.”

Surely, this had a rather catastrophic effect on websites’ reputations and their bounce rate.

However, Google was not quite done… For over a year they had been conducting tests on a method that would mark unsecured websites right on the SERP. This new feature was put to use on several locations throughout The United States and had a grand backlash of on many websites. An immense amount of red flags went on unsecured website’s search snippets.

At this juncture, users and visitors alike only saw that certain websites were unsecured and basically not safe if they decided to proceed… However, when the new SERP warnings go into effect globally, website/business owners are going to be facing CTR drops that are going to be unmissable.

It is highly recommended and advised that you migrate to HTTPS right away! You wouldn’t want your CTR to crash and burn. Most websites have already done it or are beginning to…

The Benefits of Migrating to HTTPS

For starters, HTTPS gains user’s trust. When you adapt and adopt to more modern day security precautions – you are showing your users that you can be trusted and that you are reliable. This will also, improve your website’s reputation. Users will feel safer while visiting your website and this works to your advantage.

Moreover, and obviously when your website is secured, there will be less cases of users losing their information and/or personal data. Security and privacy is paramount to a website’s success!

Third of all, which is a concern that webmasters all over the world have, which is on low ranking boost. There’s a vast array of options on how HTPPS  guides and influences rankings.

Last, but certainly not least… HTTPS allows users with the capabilities of being able to see referral traffic on Google Analytics. If your website is still running on HTTP, all your referral traffic will be perceived as direct.

HTTPS Adoption Rates

Per a study on ranking factors, which was conducted by SEMrush in 2017 – approximately 65 percent of ranking on websites for high valued keywords were already secured. With just two thirds of websites, which have migrated to HTTPS, it becomes quite difficult to compete for valuable keywords if you haven’t migrated your website to HTTPS.

It’s a bit different with less competitive niches, as just half of these websites are secured. However, if you’re in a high volume niche – the migration will be utterly necessary. It’s a competitive advantage if you were to rank for keywords and keyword phrases with less volume.

This trend is quite clear. Per Google itself – more websites are now migrating to HTTPS to be able to properly protect the data and information of their users.

More than 75 percent of traffic coming from Chrome from both Mac OS and Chrome OS is now secured and protected from 60 percent from Mac and 67 percent on Chrome OS just last year…

In which ways does HTTPS influence different search engines?

A website version that is secured means everything to your users, as it provides peace of mind. However, what Webmasters really look for is the potential in boosting their rank. HTTPS was officially established as a ranking mark back in 2014 – there has been a lot of talk in regards to the advantages and strength of this signal and how it will contribute to higher rankings.

Many search engine experts agreed on the effects that HTTPS websites will have on the ranking of a website. However, just one singular measure on website optimization won’t make a difference to the traffic that is driven to your website.

Typically, HTTPS migrations is only one phase of an ongoing SEO optimization, which drives other elements, which will affect ratings in a positive manner. These would include: On-Page Optimization, correcting any technical issues, speeding up page load and many other aspects that you can implement to really see an improvement in your page result rankings.

This is why it’s hard to really explain what exact effect will HTTPS will have on rankings, though it tends to be a great outcome…

But here’s the point – if you haven’t migrated to an HTTPS website version, you are going to be facing some unpleasant issues. Especially now with a drastic increase of HTTPS adaptations and the upcoming Google updates – owners of websites that are not secured will be risking a colossal decrease in click through rates.

Summary

Conducting an HTTPS migration is most definitely something you want to do and/or change if you haven’t so already… This is important if you want to remain on the competitive market. No matter what industry or niche you are part of, there’s an obvious, if not clear trend in website migrations to HTTPS.

Google plans to mark ALL HTTP websites as non secure or unsafe for users. Obtaining a secure website version is now a necessity and not just an advantage.

Prep up with the right set of tools which will help you dodge the common migration issues that usually occur and these tools will also, help with the prevention of your users and/or visitors from seeing those scary non security warning marks.

At the end of the day, your primary asset are not rankings, but having and/or gaining your user’s trust. Rankings will surely follow soon after…

Remember to pop into Mystic Web Designs’ Blog for the latest updates in the digital world! Here, you will also, find useful and current tips on SEO campaign strategies, Content Marketing, Web Design and lots more!
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One comment

  1. In my opinion, all sites must use HTTPS as a matter of course. It is an important issue of the Internet security

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