*This past August, Google blogged that they are giving websites with the https protocol slightly higher rankings than websites with only http.
HTTPS means that your website has an extra layer of security. Always a good thing.
But if you only have http, do you really need to change because of this announcement?
Whenever there’s an announcement from Google, it’s a good idea to wait a bit until the dust settles before spending any money or staffers’ time and talent.
If your website is an e-commerce site that takes credit cards or requires member log in, you should definitely have https. Hopefully, you already have it.
According to the following cited experts, if your website is purely informational, it is not necessary to make the switch. And, definitely, there’s no significant search engine optimization value in doing so.
Daniel Cristo, writing for Search Engine Land, explains it with a great analogy,
“For all the blogs, news sites, brand brochure-type sites or any information site that doesn’t require a member login, HTTPS is useless. It’s like the post office telling you that all your mail needs to be written in secret code. That’s fine for the military, but do your Christmas greeting cards really need to be written in unbreakable secret code? Probably not. It’s just as pointless to require HTTPS on sites that do not transfer sensitive information.” See the entire article here.
Barry Schwartz, also of Search Engine Land, writes that thus far, the data for sites switched from http to https after the Google announcement in August show no discernible search ranking benefit. See the article here.
Easy Web Tip #198: Unless your website takes in sensitive information, you do not need to switch to https at this time.
*Since this post was originally written, Google is now pushing HTTPS more than ever and it is now a ranking factor for SEO. So if SEO is important to your website (and it usually is), you need to consider it strongly.