Aside from obvious cases where data security is required, website security is also a consideration in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google uses a myriad of factors to decide how highly websites should be ranked for particular search queries, and in August 2014 Google announced that it would begin slightly favoring websites that are secured using HTTPS (when a website uses an "SSL Certificate", which is available from most web hosts). We always advise that every opportunity to outperform competitors in search engines should be taken - particularly if you do already own but do not use an SSL Certificate - and while the effects of this ranking signal are so far limited, Google has a history of incrementally placing more and more importance on newly-introduced ranking factors. We therefore expect it to eventually become the norm for websites to be secured in this way, even where it does not seem to be required from the perspective of data security (such as for credit card transactions).
Another reason to adopt HTTPS is if you plan on producing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for any or all of your website content. These are a relatively new development that further enhances the performance of websites on mobile devices, and must be hosted on a secure server.
However, there are still a number of steps that you need to follow in order to complete a successful conversion, and to ensure that your website does not suffer any drop in search engine rankings:
Once you have completed these steps, and the new HTTPS version of your website is available to the world, there are few final steps to check that your set up is complete:
If everything has gone to plan, once Google has re-indexed your site in a week or so, the chances are that your search engine rankings will seamlessly be transferred to the secure version of your site, and the old HTTP version should disappear from Google's index. You may also notice a slight increase in your rankings for certain search queries, and an associated increase in visitors.
Last updated: 13th December, 2016