At Savy, we recently transitioned our website to HTTPS. After considering all of the factors – SEO benefit, user experience and web security, it made sense to us to make the move. Should your small businesses make the move to HTTPS? What benefits come along with that? Are there any disadvantages?

What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

Usually, HTTP website traffic is unencrypted as opposed to HTTPS. The common protocol that provides a secure connection when accessing a secure website is TLS (Transport Layer Security). Previous versions are also known as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). A common misconception about the move to HTTPS is that you’re encrypting your website with TLS/SSL, when in actuality you’re encrypting the connection, or the flow of data between the server and client.

User Experience and Trust

The move to HTTPS comes with several signals of the encrypted connection. First, the URL will begin with HTTPS, for example, Next, you can recognize an encrypted site by the green lock and name of the company to the left of the URL in the address bar. These signifiers build user trust and therefore are good for user experience. When a user can easily recognize their safety on your website, this helps bounce rate and could lead to more conversions.

The Move to HTTPS as a Ranking Signal

In August 2014, Google announced that HTTPS-encryption would be a ranking signal for websites. While it started as a lightweight signal, Google has said that in the future they may decide to strengthen it due to increased web security. While small businesses may not consider their website to be a security threat in the great scheme of things, Google’s migration to a more secure Internet and the possible increase in weight as a ranking signal, make small businesses moving to HTTPS the clear choice.

Possible Disadvantages

As with anything, there are pros and cons that come along with the decision to move to HTTPS. In choosing to make the move to HTTPS, some websites have reported a slight decrease or dip in rankings and traffic. This decrease likely comes from the implementation process. Implementation of the the HTTPS migration needs to be done with care, as it’s technically demanding. Fortunately, Google has given webmasters time for migration to a secure protocol.

A No-Brainer

While there are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to make the move to HTTPS, it makes the most sense for small businesses. With the web making a concentrated effort to move to secure connections and make the web a safer place, along with the slight boost that comes with the move, it’s a no-brainer. While the transition is technical and can be difficult, it should pay off in the long run, especially considering user trust and experience.