Jake Sheridan
Jul 1, 2021

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Search engines want to give their users the best user experience online that they can. This means giving them the best, safest, most valuable online experience.

This is why search engines (platforms such as Google, Bing and Yahoo) list SEO optimized websites on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

But having a website that contains great content alone isn’t enough to win the top rankings in search engines – your customers and website visitors need to be safe, and the information they share on your website needs to be secure.

This is where the difference between HTTP and HTTPS will impact your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) performance and rankings in organic search results.

  • But what are HTTP and HTTPS?
  • How do HTTP and HTTPS sites differ?
  • Which one is better for SEO?
  • How can I migrate my HTTP site to HTTPS?

We look at these questions in this article.


From an SEO standpoint, search engines want to give users the most secure and safe online experience possible. This means ranking safe and secure websites at the top of their search pages.

As HTTPS versions of websites are safer than HTTP versions, these sites perform better in SEO.

HTTPS (https://www.) is the same as HTTP (http://www.), only with an extra layer of security. HTTPS uses a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate to make information stored and shared on that particular network safer from cyber-attack.

Thus, as a website user is safer on an HTTPS website compared to an HTTP website, Google and other search engines rank HTTPS sites higher in organic search results.

HTTPS is considered secure. HTTP is more vulnerable to cyberattack and is deemed to be non-secure. 

Let’s take a look at each individually.

What is HTTP?

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. It is a command for transferring and receiving data over the internet.

For example, the HTTP command tells a web browser to retrieve information stored under a particular domain name at a specific server. It is what makes the internet work, and is essential to any online business or website.

The issue with HTTP is that HTTP is considered an application layer protocol – meaning it will present information to an internet user regardless of the channel it uses to do so.

As any domain on HTTP is considered vulnerable to cyberattack, web browsers will alert visitors to unsecured websites with a “Not secure” tag next to the web address of an HTTP site.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS, or Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol, performs the same function as HTTP, only with an added layer of security. The connection is made secure by adding a secure socket layer or SSL certificate.

When a web page is secured with SSL, web browsers signify to users that the website is secure with the padlock signal, indicating their information is safe.

For example, when someone inputs their credit card information into an eCommerce site, they want to know that website is secure and the information they are sharing is safe. HTTPS and SSL do this.

The SSL certificate on an HTTPS connection communicates information safely with three additional protocols:

  • Encryption: The host encrypts the data being sent between the internet site and server for added security
  • Data Integrity: Once data has been sent from the server, it cannot be changed or interfered with
  • Authentication: The website authenticates the identity and location of a user

Hosting your website on an HTTPS connection is helpful for many reasons, including:

  • Protecting your users’ information
  • Reducing your risk of cyber attack
  • Appearing more legitimate and safe in the eyes of your users

HTTP Vs HTTPS Seo: What Are The Differences?

HTTP and HTTPS are both protocols that tell a web browser to retrieve information stored on a server at a different location.

The difference lies in how an HTTPS secure website encrypts that information as it is transmitted from the host and local computer, and vice-versa.

HTTP and HTTPS also differ in their perception by search engines and users. User security is an essential ranking signal for search engines such as Google, and having an HTTPS website is vital to satisfy the Google ranking algorithm.

Your website will struggle to rank well in Google search unless it is secured with an SSL certificate.

Furthermore, backlinks from non-secure HTTP domains may also be harmful to your website’s SEO, which is why it is essential to understand backlink quality and how different types of backlinks can affect the SEO efforts of your website.


Is HTTPS good for SEO?

HTTPS is not only good for your SEO – in reality, it is essential. Since 2014, Google has called for “HTTPS everywhere”, with webmaster trends analyst Pierre Far saying:

“We want to convince you that all communications should be secure by default”.

In a push to make websites as secure as possible, various Google representatives have gone so far as to say that HTTPS is a requirement as for as Google is concerned (Maile Ohye and Thao Tran).

As such, having your website secured with HTTPS and SSL is an essential ranking factor for Google search.

Does changing from HTTP to HTTPS affect SEO?

Yes – changing your domain from HTTP to HTTPS will positively impact the SEO of your website. HTTPS pages consistently outrank HTTP websites in organic search rankings.

Should I use HTTP or HTTPS?

You should use a server that offers an HTTPS connection to host your website. This is for several reasons:

  • Added security for your customers
  • Better perceived authority
  • Better ranks in search engines

What is HTTPS in SEO?

HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It is a command that tells a web browser on a local computer to safely and securely access and share information with a server hosting a particular website in a different location.

Why is HTTP not secure?

HTTP requests and responses between computers are sent in plaintext, meaning anybody can watch and read these communications. HTTPS encrypts the data being shared between computers and server, thus rectifying this problem.

Don’t forget: check out the other definitions (over 200) in our growing SEO glossary.


Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of HTTP and HTTPS SEO.

HTTPS is good for SEO because it makes web users safer online by encrypting data and authenticating users.

From a web users perspective, they want to know that sensitive information, such as personal details or financial data they share with a website, is safe and will only be used securely by that website.

From a search engines perspective, they want to make sure their users visit safe and secure websites to optimize their online user experience.

From a business perspective, you want your customers to trust your website and feel secure in conducting financial transactions.

To learn more about migrating your HTTP website to HTTPS, consider our services at Loganix. We can ensure your website is transferred rapidly, without any loss of function. Making sure you redirect old webpages properly is vital to carrying the SEO from your old HTTP domain, so make sure you do it correctly!

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Jake Sheridan on July 1, 2021

Founder of Sheets for Marketers, I nerd out on automating parts of my work using Google Sheets. At Loganix I build products, and content marketing. There’s nothing like a well deserved drink after a busy day spreadsheeting.