Definition: HTTPS (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is the encrypted update to the HTTP protocol, adding a layer of security and reducing a website's susceptibility to attacks. Using HTTPS provides an assurance to customers and helps secure user data.

How HTTPS provides a more secure browsing experience

HTTPS creates a "secure connection," meaning three things:

  1. Users are connected to the intended website and not an imposter. The https:// in the address bar and the appearance of the lock icon indicate an HTTPS connection, which while not a foolproof guarantee you have the right Web address, at least comes much closer to it than does HTTP.
  2. Encrypted Data protects login IDs, passwords, credit and debit card numbers, and other personal information that is entered. The encryption works regardless of which direction the data is sent. This point is of particular importance to online retailers and their clients since it guards ecom transactions against identity thieves.

HTTPS Now Increases Websites' SEO Performance

As of the summer of 2015, Google starting using HTTPS as a ranking signal that will boost SEO results. Their motive was to automatically send users to a more secure connection during their Google searches, and they have even publicly called for the eventual Internet-wide use of HTTPS encryption.

For now, search ranking algorithms use HTTPS as a very lightweight signal, affecting less than 1% of searches and only acting as a sort of "tie breaker" for otherwise equal-quality content. However, Google has plans to strengthen the impact of HTTPS in the future, thus making "secure search" even more secure.

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