Have you ever tried entering a pub as an underage adult? Well, if you have, a bouncer would have stopped you from entering it.
HSTS is a sort of bouncer. It is a website security protocol that enables web browsers to prevent web browsers with insecure connections from entering the fort. Also, it helps to make a website more SEO friendly. Let’s dive into the term “How HSTS can affect Websites SEO?”.
Here is a quick snapshot of what HSTS stands for and what it means.
HSTS stands for HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS). Using HSTS can help website owners to safeguard themselves from several cybersecurity threats – more specifically attacks like protocol downgrade attacks, cookie hijacking, man-in-the-middle attacks, etc. From a marketing perspective, there is a larger than security benefit that HSTS can bring to a website.
That is a better SEO ranking. HSTS does the dual task of ensuring website security as well as ensuring that it loads faster on web browsers. For instance, it lays down rules like not to grant access to websites other than through secured connections (HTTPS). That makes installing an SSL Certificate mandatory to attain all the benefits of HSTS.
How HSTS can affect Websites SEO? – The Positive Connection
It is common knowledge that page loading is a critical ranking factor that Google uses to rank web pages. Faster the page loading speed, higher the search engine ranking.
Of course, there are other critical ranking factors as well. But, from a user perspective, a fast loading website delivers a delightful experience than a slow loading website. A fast loading website can serve information quickly thus increasing the average dwell time of the website.
As per Think with Google Industry benchmarks report, 53 percent of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Clearly, users – both web as well as mobile users tend to take page loading speed seriously. If you are an online store, page loading speed is still more serious for your store. More than 30% of online shopping begins or is even transacted through a mobile device. So a slow loading online store might experience high levels of cart abandonment than regular websites.
HSTS can solve that issue. In the erstwhile HTTPS version, the website will call the HTTP version for data which slows down the page loading speed. While in HSTS, the website already knows that it can call for information only through an HTTPS (secure connection). That helps reduces the page loading speed significantly.
This ultimately leads to a slick user experience where the page loads as fast as the customer’s actions. Websites that deliver higher page loading speed and better user experience enjoy longer dwell time. As a result, they also get ranked higher in search engine results.
HSTS and website security – A double-layered security system
HTTPS is definitely secure. But, there is no 100% guarantee that it is still hack-proof. Hackers can make still their find way through an HTTPS connection and strip down an SSL encryption to steal data.
This usually happens in HTTP websites which are redirected to HTTPS website using 301 redirects. The interval between the visitor visiting the HTTP website until they are redirected to the HTTPS website remains vulnerable to hacking. A hacker can slip in during this juncture and strip down the SSL certificate.
It is here that HSTS can prove to be a worthy remedy. It makes it necessary for websites to draw information through HTTPS connections only. The secure connection ensures that the site does not have the vulnerability that is created when the visitor is redirected from HTTP to HTTPS. HSTS loads the secure version of the website by default that is eliminating that situation permanently.
HSTS mode – Should you or shouldn’t you?
The benefits of fast page loading speed and SEO-friendliness can be obtained if you make your website HSTS-ready. But, before that, you need to install an SSL certificate on your website. The SSL certificate will secure your website and move it to the HTTPS mode which HSTS connections approve by default.
From what we have discussed until now you must be aware of the benefits that HSTS can bring to your website. It makes security and SEO a thing easily done for your website. It plugs the gaps in website security that can make your website vulnerable to attacks. HSTS gives not only an extra layer of security but also strengthens the SEO-friendliness of the website.
This is how HSTS can affect Websites SEO. Moreover, it is the way forward for websites. HTTP will soon be a thing of the past since tech giants, and CMS service providers have already started stressing on the need for a safer web environment. HSTS will not be an option that you can consider but a must-have if you are a website owner. Hope website owners will be benefited with this article on “How HSTS can affect Websites SEO?”.
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