HTTPS On Blogs and SEO: Is It Really Necessary?

Is HTTPS really necessary?

Google has been trying to enforce HTTPS on all websites since August 2014, stating in their Webmasters Blog that they want to make sure that “websites that people access from Google are secure”.

To underline the importance of their pro-HTTPS campaign, Google said that implementing HTTPS would bring small ranking benefits to webmasters.

But while HTTPS may offer a thin layer of security to e-commerce websites and any website that uses even a simple shopping cart, it is opinable that it may also make sense to implement on blogs and static websites that don’t ask the end user for sensible information.

Michael Martinez published an interesting post on why HTTPS doesn’t ensure 100% protection and why all the enforcement is technically meaningless on static sites, since they don’t collect user data.

As for SEO, only bloggers and webmasters who care about the small ranking signal may be interested in making the switch from HTTP to HTTPS. The others may still find it irrelevant and a waste of money (because purchasing a certificate and upgrading your hosting account to install it on your server costs money) ant time (installing a certificate is not a two-steps process).

I know implementing would be rather difficult for someone who runs multiple blogs — hence the discussion I had with John Mueller last year on his Google+ post:

Discussion with John Mueller at Google+

What Are Marketing Experts Saying About It?

I asked two Marketing experts and a writer what they think about implementing HTTPS on blogs and if they deem it necessary since Google made the claim.

Here are their thoughts:

Cormac Reynolds, company director at MyOnlineMarketer.co.uk:

Cormac Reynolds

Cormac Reynolds

I honestly think it depends on the sort of site, the competition of the niche and other factors. Each case should be determined on its own merits and different sites will benefit from HTTPS implementation, while others won’t. It’s a small signal, so generally I wouldn’t get too carried away with implementing it for most sites.

David Leonhardt, president at THGM Writers:

David Leonhardt

David Leonhardt

I am not using HTTPS on my websites, but if I was ever to add a shopping cart or start gathering personal details from visitors, I would.

David also published a blog post about this topic.

Lukasz Zelezny, head of organic acquisition at Zelezny.uk:

Lukasz Zelezny

Lukasz Zelezny

In the past, I didn’t think HTTPS was really necessary on blogs unless you were asking people for payment information directly through your site.  However, since Google announced they are factoring HTTPS encryption into their search results, I think we should see it as a warning that they will be focusing on it quite strongly in the future.

According to statistics, less than 1% of blogs are currently HTTPS encrypted.  And whilst Google usually gives people a while to think about their algorithm changes before they are fully enacted, I really think that now is the time to utilise HTTPS to ensure you aren’t left behind when Google makes changes.  With so few blogs currently having HTTPS you can get ahead of your competitors if you act now, and you’ll have less stress if the time comes that a HTTPS algorithm update comes out, especially as it’s not an easy thing to implement.

Do I think HTTPS is necessary?  Not really unless you are asking your website’s visitors for confidential information or taking payments through your site.  However, in the future it could mean the difference between a page ranking at number 1 or number 2 in search – this makes it necessary.

Takeaway

Do you want a ranking boost or are you considering the benefits of that layer of security HTTPS provides? Make the switch.

Could you care less about Google rankings or you run a static blog? You don’t need the added technical and financial difficulty of installing an SSL certificate.

There’s an interesting article at Forbes titled “Should I Switch From HTTP to HTTPS For SEO Reasons?” you may want to read.

Do you implement HTTPS on your blog? If you do or don’t, what pushed to you to choose encryption?

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About Luana Spinetti

Luana Spinetti is a freelance blogger and copywriter based in Italy. When she's not writing, she will be drawing artwork and making websites. Web Marketing and SEO are in her basket for work-enhancement and for fun (but it still earned her a gig as a SEO consultant in 2012). Find her at LuanaSpinetti.com or at her Twitter account @luanatf.

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