SEO & SSL: A Conversation With Jon Henshaw Of Raven Tools

By Clark Buckner

Image courtesy: Kyle Turco/TechnologyAdvice

Image courtesy: Kyle Turco/TechnologyAdvice

When Google speaks, SEO professionals listen. But that doesn’t mean they need to act… yet.

In the wake of Google’s announcement that it is now giving a rankings boost to HTTPS sites, Raven Tools co-founder and Chief Product Officer Jon Henshaw thinks internet marketers should test the waters first before fully committing to a switch for an established site.

Jon Henshaw of Raven Tools

Jon Henshaw of Raven Tools

In a conversation with Clark Buckner about SSL and its impact on SEO, Henshaw said the rewards are not yet worth the time, resources and sacrifice in traffic that would come with turning a strong HTTP site into an HTTPS.

However, considering the growing concerns around data privacy and information security, he does believe that Google’s rewards for more secure sites are here to stay.

The added layer of security on HTTPS websites comes from SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, which is most commonly used by e-commerce sites to encrypt data and secure its transfer over the internet.

Henshaw believes Google is subtly pushing all HTTP sites — even non-commerce content blogs that do not transfer information — to add SSL in hopes of making the whole internet browsing experience more secure.

The transition is certainly not the simple flip of a switch for established, high-ranking HTTP sites. The process of converting an HTTP to an HTTPS site is incredibly involved and brings with it some serious SEO challenges, including:

  • Separate Sites: Google considers the HTTP and HTTPS versions of a site to be two completely different sites in their search engine, so a website admin has to add their SSL site as a completely new site.
  • Redirecting Sites: After installing the SSL certificate, HTTP traffic must be redirected to the HTTPS site, or organic traffic will suffer.
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