Not only does having an SSL certificate on your website bring more security to your users but it actually helps with SEO. HTTPS, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, uses SSL to encrypt information being sent and ensures that information travels securely.
Why should you make the switch to SSL
SSL and HTTPS are not only valuable to security, but they’re also going to be helpful when it comes to SEO, ecommerce, and visual notifications about the security of a page in Google Chrome. On September 8, 2016, the Google Security Team announced that the 56th version of Google Chrome will alert users when they’re on an unsecure website without SSL certificate.
This means that if your website is not secure a customer will be notified when viewing your website on Chrome that the website is unsecure.
A secure website with an SSL Certificate will not get this above notification but instead will show the green padlock showing trust on using the website.
As you can see it could put off potential customers from a trust level not having an SSL on your website moving forward.
Step by Step Guide to making your site secure with SSL
To help you get started on moving your website from http to https ssl secure server we have compiled a list below:
- Prepare a list of URLs, mapping them from the current HTTP structure to corresponding locations on the HTTPS website.
- Investigate and verify that all external scripts and images work well with HTTPS. If they don’t, it might be a good idea to download such files to your server to guarantee HTTPS access to them.
- Set up 301 redirects on your server from the old HTTP URLs to the new HTTPS URLs, as indicated in your mapping. Alternatively, you may implement this within the .htaccess if your website is hosted on a server running Apache, or with the appropriate tool on your server. Also, if your site is created with any programming language, developers may implement the same redirection within the site’s code.
- Ensure that all “rel=canonical” tags within your HTML point to HTTPS pages.
- Test your website using the Qualys Lab tool
- Update robots.txt and sitemap.xml with corresponding HTTPS links.
- Update your website URL in social networks, Google Analytics, and any other tracking tools.
- Create a new HTTPS entity in Google Webmaster Tools. Remember that Google Webmaster Tools treats HTTP and HTTPS websites as two different entities in WMT.
- Try to update valuable external links on websites linking to your content.
- Monitor the HTTPS website daily with Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to find any issues Google may be having.
A point to mention is by switching from HTTP to HTTPS you may see short term fluctuations in traffic and rankings but our experience definitely shows positive results. A few months after we moved to HTTPS our traffic and rankings were back up to the same levels observed before the move even seeing better results in some local searches.