As the digital universe expands, questions concerning the security and privacy of internet data remain of high relevance. If you have ever engaged in online banking, shared a family photo, or logged into Facebook, you have probably asked yourself-are my actions protected? HTTPS goes a long way in answering these questions by adding a layer of security to the standard HTTP (the protocol that facilitates web communication between your browser and the website you are connected to). Whether you are an HTTPS evangelist or view the security protocol as non-imperative, there are a few things you should know about HTTPS and more importantly, why you should make the switch.

Benefit #1- HTTPS Protects Your Users

HTTPS enlists three main properties to secure the privacy and security of your users. The first property works to encrypt data between the user’s browser and your server. Users can enter passwords, credit card information, and engage with your content knowing they are protected. The second property protects the content between the browser and server from being tampered with. This property also protects users from unwanted ads and keeps hackers from modifying your web content. The third property provides proof of your identity.  The encrypted data exchange begins when your server presents a certificate (SSL) to identify itself. Simply put, each party knows who the other is.

Benefit #2- HTTPS Improves Your SEO Rankings

In an effort to influence more webmasters to adopt HTTPS, Google uses the secure protocol as a search signal in search engine rankings. Although the argument stands that the signal is ‘lightweight’, the importance of security and the weight Google places on secure sites is increasing. The switch to an HTTPS site will also help your referrer data. When data is passed from an HTTPS site to a HTTP site the referrer data is lost. Traffic will appear as direct and understanding where that traffic is coming from is lost, making it harder to analyze your ROI. In the perpetual fight for your site to rank higher, adopting a secure protocol is an easy way to boost rankings.

Benefit #3- HTTPS Keeps Your Website in the Game

Adopting a secure protocol will lead to technological advances in the future. While looking ahead, if you stick with HTTP your site will likely lose features that will be only available to secure sites. HTTPS lifts your website’s integrity, protecting both you and your users from unwanted attacks. Security reasons alone should be enough motivation to implement a secure protocol.  For more information on SEM best practices contact GSC’s SEM department at (914) 276-2700 ext. (26) or