You ask this question to any SEO advisor, YES will be the straight answer. As of the beginning of 2016 I will still contest the requirement of having HTTPS for a self hosted blog, but I know I am fighting a losing battle and eventually we will have all of us going for the HTTPS version. But I will not go down without a fight and this article is a part of that effort.
So why has Google moved Blogger service to HTTPS
Google send out some shockwaves when it announced that it is making available the HTTPS option for its Blogger services. At the same time some strong signals were send out that websites having HTTPS will be ranked higher by Google. That really set the cat among the pigeons.
But did Blogger need to move to HTTPS. Yes, as per the mission to go HTTPS for all its product lineup. After all there are some critical applications running under the Google name.
Technical aspects of HTTPS
To understand what HTTPS does, simply see it as data passing between two PCs is encrypted and hence can be stolen but cannot be accessed or read. Also there is going to be some information available as to whether you are accessing the real site or not. So if you want to do some transactions on your internet banking website, you need to be sure it is the correct one and that your information is safe as it is being send over the internet.
If you want HTTPS you will need the following.
- Buy a SSL certificate from your hosting provider. Note, SSL certification depending on its class requires documentation.
- For SSL to work it requires a static IP address for which you will need to pay extra to your hosting provider.
- HTTPS puts an extra load on the web server as the information which is about to be send gets encrypted. Which means there is going to be a slight delay in sending across stuff which requires the need for a CDN or Content Delivery Network.
Who actually needs HTTPS
If you read the fine print, any website which is storing user information needs to move to HTTPS ASAP. If not, it is putting user information at risk. And it will be downgraded in search engine rankings. But if it is a personal blog, you don’t really need HTTPS. But at the same time you don’t know how Google is going to differentiate between a personal blog with no user information and a community blog where users have stored their credit card information for verification purposes only.
Doesn’t matter if you don’t have HTTPS right now, but eventually down the line, we might have to change over.