When it comes to your website, security is key. Establishing a strong website goes beyond a strong password or firewall within your platform. Even if your website does not house sensitive material, such as credit card information, transitioning your website address to HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) will ensure you have taken the right steps to protect your website and those who access it. HTTPS is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the website.

A very common misconception is that websites that house sensitive information are the only ones that need to implement HTTPS. Google encourages webmasters to adopt HTTPS to provide users with the private online experience they expect when using a website. A HTTP website has the potential to reveal information about a user’s identity and online behavior.

Transitioning your website address to include HTTPS will help eliminate potential intruders. These intruders could include those of a malicious nature or intrusive, but legitimate, companies that inject ads onto your website. These types of attackers will try to tamper with the communication system between your website and a user’s browser. Intruders can exploit these unprotected communication lines and will try to trick users into divulging personal information or installing malware. Some third parties will even try to place advertisements onto websites that can potentially break up the user’s experience and open up security vulnerabilities. Images, cookies, scripts and HTML can all be exploited. These types of attacks can occur anywhere within the network setup. A user’s device, hotspot, Wi-Fi or ISP could all serve as a possible target.

To learn how you can obtain HTTPS for your website, review Google’s best practices to see how you can properly obtain your security certificate. Once you obtain HTTPS, ensure that your pages can be crawled and indexed by Google properly. To do this, be sure your website does not block your HTTPS pages by robots.txt.files. Do not include meta noindex tags in your HTTPS pages. Use Fetch as Google to test that Googlebot can access your pages. Google stated that if you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, they view this as a site move with a URL change. This can temporarily affect some of your traffic numbers.