As you may or may not know, Google updated it’s algorithms in 2014 to favour HTTPS sites over HTTP sites, but what does this even mean?
In simple terms if your website has an SSL certificate associated with it then it will use HTTPS protocol, with the extra S meaning secure. Essentially this is achieved by protecting the website connection using authentication and encryption. An SSL certificate allows secure connection between a web server and browser.
In the beginning most websites only benefited from a minor increase in search rankings but Google indicated at the time they may give more significance to the signal in the future.
Since Google favour HTTPS, it is no surprise to see more and more websites (not limited to ecommerce) on the first page of the search results with HTTPS enabled, with many reputable sources (including MOZ) claiming this is currently over 65% (up from 30% in June 2016) with 81 of the Top 100 sites using HTTPS by default. Some predictions are estimating this figure may continue to rise steadily at a similar rate.
Ultimately Google are looking to provide the best experience possible for users and since HTTPS protects users information and your information from hackers, secure websites across the board will help in the crusade. Having an SSL Certificate is the simplest individual thing site owners can do to boost SEO ranking.
What if you don’t switch to HTTPS? Google originally stated they would gradually start to highlight “not secure” websites to users and last week (8th Feb) Google announced it will identify all website without SSL enabled would be marked as “not secure” in July 2018, coinciding with a Chrome browser update.
This improved security should increase customer confidence & website conversions as users trust your website is secure and their personal information is safe.
The next step to enable HTTPS on your website is securing an SSL certificate from your web hosting company. This will ensure your site doesn’t get marked as “not secure” or pushed down the search rankings by competitors with HTTPS enabled.