If your website uses HTTP instead of HTTPS, it’s time to make the switch. In the past, HTTP was sufficient for websites that didn’t transfer sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, but in recent years, the standard shifted. In 2014, Google announced that HTTP/HTTPS would factor into SEO rankings, giving preference to sites that have HTTPS certificates.

In 2017, Google added a notation to the address bar of its Chrome browser that shows HTTPS sites as “secure.” The notation includes an icon that, when clicked on, warns, “your connection to this site is not secure.” The perception of security among your site visitors is crucial, even if your site isn’t collecting personal information. Furthermore, if Google says that HTTPS is important, then we’d all be wise to listen.

To avoid SEO penalties and usability issues on your site, it’s best to call in expert help when upgrading your site to HTTPS. Purchasing and installing an SSL certificate is easy enough, but you also have to perform redirects, update internal links, adjust your sitemap and submit your site to Google Search Console. Once you’ve upgraded to HTTPS, however, you don’t need to expend additional effort, besides paying a yearly fee to your hosting company.