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HTTP vs HTTPS: How Both Can Effect Your SEO

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HTTP vs HTTPS: How Both Can Effect Your SEO

Did you know that every year, one in three Americans will face a hacker attack on the World Wide Web? That’s one hacker attack every 39 seconds.

In order to prevent these attacks, it important to make sure your website is as secure as possible. But how do you ensure site security?

If you want a more secure site, you need to understand the difference between HTTP vs HTTPS websites. Knowing the difference, and knowing when to make the switch, can ensure that you are protecting your site visitors. You’ll also be improving your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts in the process.

So, let’s break it down.

HTTP vs HTTPS: What’s the Difference?

In the early days of the Internet, there wasn’t an “https vs http” issue as almost every website used HTTP to transmit information from the server to your browser. However, more and more websites are switching to HTTPS. In fact, back in 2014, Google started offering minor rating bumps to any website that made the switch.

But why? What’s so special about HTTPS?

Well, in order to understand the increasing popularity of HTTPS, it’s important to understand what exactly each one is. And, perhaps more importantly, what they can offer your site.

What is HTTP?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It’s been used since the dawn of the World Wide Web to transfer data from web servers to browsers. This allows any user to view web pages.

Basically, HTTP enables different systems to communicate with one another. Pretty much every early website used HTTP. Many still use it to this day.

The main problem with HTTP is that there is very little privacy. This means virtually anyone can see the information that is being transmitted through HTTP. This also means that it’s much easier to alter the content that is visible on a site or gain access.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Essentially, it does the same thing as HTTP, but with an added layer of security. This means that unlike HTTP, HTTPS encrypts the information that is flowing between the server and the browser.

This extra layer of encryption makes it harder for hackers to steal visitor information. Originally, prior to 2014, mostly e-commerce websites used HTTPS to protect payment information. But, as websites and the information that flows between them becomes more complex more sites are making the switch to HTTPS.

HTTPS secures information by using an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate. This forms a secure encrypted connection between the server and the browser. As potentially sensitive information flows between the two, this protects it from being stolen.

What’s the Difference?

Both HTTP and HTTPS are used to send information from the webserver to the browser. The important distinction between the two is HTTPS’s use of an SSL certificate. This is especially important for websites collecting credit card information or other types of sensitive information such as social security numbers or passwords.

An SSL works by taking the information and encrypting it. Encryption translates information into a secure code. This means that even if the information is stolen, it’s unlikely the hackers will be able to understand it thanks to the secret code.

In addition to this extra secure layer, HTTPS is also secured by a TLS (transport layer security) protocol. TLS protocol provides additional data integrity. This means that the corruption, possible watering hole attacks or modification of data transfers is prevented.

Another advantage of TLS is it’s added site authentication. This proves to users that they are communicating with the correct, intended website. Site authentication lets site visitors know that their information is going where it is supposed to.

Which is Better?

Obviously, HTTPS has a major security advantage over HTTP. But, HTTPS is most useful for e-commerce sites, or those sites that accept otherwise sensitive information. If you’re not one of these sites, switching to HTTPS can come with some serious hassles.

Still, in most cases, switching to HTTPS can be in your best interest. In addition to added security, HTTPS can give you a boost in your SEO efforts. That’s welcome news for any company trying to leave a serious technological footprint.

HTTPS and Your SEO Efforts

If you’re trying to give a boost to your SEO efforts (different than PPC), there are several reasons to switch over to HTTPS. Each of them will help you keep your visitors, and even score new ones. The SEO boosters offered by switching to HTTPS include:

Increases Your Website Ranking

As previously mentioned, Google offers a slight ratings boost to any website that makes the switch from HTTP to HTTPS. But, that’s not the only way that the HTTPS switch increases your long-term Google rankings.

Switching to HTTPS can lead to long-term website growth because your guests are more likely to stick around a secure website. More frequently, website visitors look for the lock symbol in their browser. This lets them know they’re on a secure site.

This lock symbol only appears for HTTPS sites. It’s Google’s way of letting them know they’re safe and their information is secure. Switching to HTTPS can make visitors more comfortable, which means they’re much more likely to stick around.

Builds Visitor Trust

In addition to the comfort of the lock symbol, HTTPS sites offer guests lots of added security. Sites protected with HTTPS encryption not only protect visitors’ sensitive information but their browsing history, as well. Privacy while browsing means that anything your guests download, purchase, or sign up for won’t put them at risk. This gives them an added peace of mind, thus building their trust in your site. Trust in your site often leads to added trust in your organization at large.

Additionally, HTTPS protects sites from added security breaches that could put guests at risk. Security breaches can damage your reputation as an organization. In some cases, they can even cost you extra money and valuable time.

Eligibility for AMP

It is becoming increasingly important for sites to be able to create AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) pages. As more and more people browse from their smartphones, you’ll want a site that is quick and easy to access on mobile. But, if you want an AMP page, you’ll need an HTTPS site.

AMP is basically a stripped-down version of HTML. This means faster loading for mobile and a fit-to-screen view of your webpage. However, it is impossible to generate an AMP page without an HTTPS protected site.

If you want a better experience for mobile users, you’ll need to make the switch to HTTPS. It’s more important now than ever before to have a mobile-friendly site, especially for your SEO rankings.

Mobile search rankings and local SEO matter for your website rankings. This is a major reason to make the switch to HTTPS if you want to boost your SEO efforts.

SEO Concerns When Switching From HTTP

It’s not always easy to make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS. In fact, in some cases, making the switch can negatively impact your SEO efforts. If you want to avoid these pitfalls, keep these tips in mind:

Inform Google Your Site Has Made the Switch

Google won’t automatically be notified that you’ve switched to HTTPS. They won’t be aware of it until the next time they crawl your site. That can take quite a while, with your SEO dropping every day.

If you want to avoid this lengthy process, inform them of your switch right away. This way, they can give you your ratings boost and your site can be on its way to long-term rating boosts.

Make Sure Your Certificates Are in Order

There are a few other certificates to be aware of other than SSL. These include:

  • Single Domain: Issued for one domain or subdomain
  • Multiple Domain (aka Unified Communications Certificate): Secures a primary domain and upwards of 99 additional subject alternative names
  • Wildcard SSL: Secures website URL and unlimited subdomains

Make sure that you have the right certificates for your domain needs. This will keep your SEO boosts from being slowed down by technical errors.

Don’t Prevent Google From Crawling Your HTTPS Site

If Google can’t access your robots.txt, they can’t get clear crawling instructions. This could prevent you from improving your SEO. If Google can’t crawl your site, it could negatively impact your potential search rankings.

Usually, this happens right after you’ve made the switch to HTTPS. Don’t forget to update your test server to allow bots. This will eliminate hang-ups.

Allow Search Engines to Index Your Page

Not allowing search engines to index your page could have a negative impact on your SEO. This could wipe out your rankings. Getting your rankings back can take a really long time, so you’ll want to get this in order.

Track Your HTTP to HTTPS Shift

Use Google WebMaster tools or any other analytics software to track your progress. This ensures everything goes smoothly. It will also catch any issues that arise as soon as possible, ensuring they don’t hurt your SEO.

Ready to Make the Switch?

Now that you understand HTTPS vs HTTP, and how they can impact your SEO, you’ll know if your company needs to make the switch. In almost every case, moving to HTTPS is in your best interest. From increasing your visitors’ trust to improving your website rankings, HTTPS can bring tons of benefits to your site.

If you’re ready to make the switch to make your site more secure, unlike the complexity of JSX in web development, this switch is less complex which you can do this in-house or outsource it the task. They can help you make the switch effortlessly, and ensure the best outcome for your SEO efforts.

Author: Randy Soderman

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Attain Superior Growth & ROI With Organic & Paid Tips

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Holistic Search 2.0: Optimizing and Measuring Organic and Paid Performance

Silos don’t cut it anymore. User journeys are too complex for you to view and track channels separately.

To improve your campaign performance, you need a holistic view of your marketing activities and how they intertwine. This is especially true for organic and paid search strategies. 

You need to be front and center with your ideal customers at multiple touchpoints, including active interactions and passive awareness. An ideal marketing strategy has paid and organic campaigns working in tandem, and it’s becoming harder to succeed without doing both.

If you’re looking to drive quality growth in your own campaigns, iQuanti can help.

Join us live on July 24 as we delve into this intricate relationship between organic and paid search channels. You’ll get actionable insights for measuring success to maximize their combined potential.

You’ll gain a comprehensive, data-driven understanding of how to measure, analyze, and optimize holistic search marketing efforts, ensuring sustainable growth and superior ROI for your business.

You’ll walk away with:

  • Integrated Metrics and KPIs: Learn how to define and track key metrics to capture the performance of your organic and paid search campaigns, so you can make informed strategic decisions that work.
  • Attribution Models: You’ll see firsthand how strong attribution models are crucial to understanding your customers’ journeys, allowing you to identify influential touchpoints and allocate budget effectively for maximum ROI.
  • Optimization Strategies: You’ve gathered data from your campaigns…now what? Take the data and leverage it to further optimize your paid and organic search campaigns, increasing conversions along the way.

Shaubhik Ray, Senior Director of Digital Analytics Solutions at iQuanti is an expert at crafting holistic search strategies to reach more of your ideal audiences at relevant stages in their journeys. Now, he’s ready to share his insights with you.

You’ll walk away equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to execute a combined organic and paid strategy that improves the performance of each channel.  You’ll gain data-driven insights on how to align a combined strategy with business goals and lead your organization to success.

Sign up now and prepare to maximize the potential of combining your organic and paid campaigns.

At the end of the presentation, you’ll get a chance to ask Shaubhik your burning questions in our live Q&A, so be sure to attend.

And if you can’t make it that day, register here and we’ll send you a recording following the webinar. 

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Screaming Frog SEO Spider Version 20.0: AI-Powered Features

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What’s New with Screaming Frog SEO Spider 20.0?

For SEO experts, our toolkit is crucial. It’s how we make sure we can quickly and effectively assess how well our websites are performing. Using the best tools can put you way ahead of other SEOs. One example (and one tool I’ve personally been using for years) is Screaming FrogIt’s a powerful, straightforward, and insightful website crawler tool that’s indispensable for finding technical issues on your website.

And the good news is that it keeps getting better. Screaming Frog just released its 20th major version of the software, which includes new features based on feedback from SEO professionals.

Here are the main updates:

  1. Custom JavaScript Snippets
  2. Mobile Usability
  3. N-Grams Analysis
  4. Aggregated Anchor Text
  5. Carbon Footprint & Rating

Custom JavaScript Snippets

One of the standout features in this release is the ability to execute custom JavaScript snippets during a crawl. This functionality expands the horizons for data manipulation and API communication, offering unprecedented flexibility.

Use Cases:

  • Data Extraction and Manipulation: Gather specific data points or modify the DOM to suit your needs.
  • API Communication: Integrate with APIs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT from within the SEO Spider.

Setting Up Custom JS Snippets:

  • Navigate to `Config > Custom > Custom JavaScript`.
  • Click ‘Add’ to create a new snippet or ‘Add from Library’ to select from preset snippets.

setting up custom JS snippets screamingfrog 20setting up custom JS snippets screamingfrog 20

  • Ensure JavaScript rendering mode is set via `Config > Spider > Rendering`.

Crawl with ChatGPT:

  • Leverage the `(ChatGPT) Template` snippet, add your OpenAI API key and tailor the prompt to your needs.
  • Follow our tutorial on ‘How To Crawl With ChatGPT’ for more detailed guidance.

Sharing Your Snippets:

  • Export/import snippet libraries as JSON files to share with colleagues.
  • Remember to remove sensitive data such as API keys before sharing.

Introducing Custom JavaScript Snippets to Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 significantly enhances the tool’s flexibility and power. Whether you’re generating dynamic content, interacting with external APIs, or conducting complex page manipulations, these snippets open a world of possibilities. 

Mobile Usability

In today’s mobile-first world, ensuring a seamless mobile user experience is imperative. Version 20.0 introduces extensive mobile usability audits through Lighthouse integration. 

With an ever-increasing number of users accessing websites via mobile devices, ensuring a seamless mobile experience is crucial. Google’s mobile-first indexing highlights the importance of mobile usability, which directly impacts your site’s rankings and user experience.

 Mobile Usability Features:

  • New Mobile Tab: This tab includes filters for regular mobile usability issues such as viewport settings, tap target sizes, content sizing, and more.
  • Granular Issue Details: Detailed data on mobile usability issues can be explored in the ‘Lighthouse Details’ tab.
  • Bulk Export Capability: Export comprehensive mobile usability reports via `Reports > Mobile`.

Setup:

  • Connect to the PSI API through `Config > API Access > PSI` or run Lighthouse locally.

Example Use Cases:

  • Identify pages where content does not fit within the viewport.
  • Flag and correct small tap targets and illegible font sizes.

mobile usability analysis on screamingfrog 20mobile usability analysis on screamingfrog 20

With these new features, Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 streamlines the process of auditing mobile usability, making it more efficient and comprehensive. By integrating with Google Lighthouse, both via the PSI API and local runs, the tool provides extensive insights into the mobile performance of your website. Addressing these issues not only enhances user experience but also improves your site’s SEO performance.

N-grams Analysis

N-grams analysis is a powerful new feature that allows users to analyze phrase frequency across web pages. This can greatly enhance on-page SEO efforts and internal linking strategies.

Setting Up N-grams:

  • Activate HTML storage by enabling ‘Store HTML’ or ‘Store Rendered HTML’ under `Config > Spider > Extraction`.
  • View the N-grams in the lower N-grams tab.

n-grams analysis on screamingfrog 20n-grams analysis on screamingfrog 20

Example Use Cases:

  • Improving Keyword Usage: Adjust content based on the frequency of targeted N-grams.
  • Optimizing Internal Links: Use N-grams to identify unlinked keywords and create new internal links.

Internal Linking Opportunities:

The N-grams feature provides a nuanced method for discovering internal linking opportunities, which can significantly enhance your SEO strategy and site navigation.

The introduction of N-grams analysis in Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20 provides a tool for deep content analysis and optimization. By understanding the frequency and distribution of phrases within your content, you can significantly improve your on-page SEO and internal linking strategies.

Aggregated Anchor Text

Effective anchor text management is essential for internal linking and overall SEO performance. The aggregated anchor text feature in version 20.0 provides clear insights into how anchor texts are used across your site.

Using Aggregated Anchor Text:

  • Navigate to the ‘Inlinks’ or ‘Outlinks’ tab.
  • Utilize the new ‘Anchors’ filters to see aggregated views of anchor text usage.

aggregated anchor text report on screamingfrog 20aggregated anchor text report on screamingfrog 20

Practical Benefits:

  • Anchor Text Diversity: Ensure a natural distribution of anchor texts to avoid over-optimization.
  • Descriptive Linking: Replace generic texts like “click here” with keyword-rich alternatives.

The aggregated anchor text feature provides powerful insights into your internal link structure and optimization opportunities. This feature is essential if you are looking to enhance your site’s internal linking strategy for better keyword relevance, user experience, and search engine performance.

Aligning with digital sustainability trends, Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 includes features to measure and optimize your website’s carbon footprint.

Key Features:

  • Automatic CO2 Calculation: The SEO Spider now calculates carbon emissions for each page using the CO2.js library.
  • Carbon Rating: Each URL receives a rating based on its emissions, derived from the Sustainable Web Design Model.
  • High Carbon Rating Identification: Pages with high emissions are flagged in the ‘Validation’ tab.

Practical Applications:

  • Resource Optimization: Identify and optimize high-emission resources.
  • Sustainable Practices: Implement changes such as compressing images, reducing script sizes, and using green hosting solutions.

The integration of carbon footprint calculations in Screaming Frog SEO Spider signifies a growing recognition of digital sustainability. As more businesses adopt these practices, we can collectively reduce the environmental impact of the web while driving performance and user satisfaction.

Other Updates

In addition to major features, version 20.0 includes numerous smaller updates and bug fixes that enhance functionality and user experience.

Rich Result Validation Enhancements:

  • Split Google Rich Result validation errors from Schema.org.
  • New filters and columns provide detailed insights into rich result triggers and errors.

Enhanced File Types and Filters:

  • Internal and external filters include new file types such as Media, Fonts, and XML.

Website Archiving:

  • A new option to archive entire websites during a crawl is available under `Config > Spider > Rendering > JS`.

Viewport and Screenshot Configuration:

  • Customize viewport and screenshot sizes to fit different audit needs.

API Auto Connect:

  • Automatically connect APIs on start, making the setup process more seamless.

Resource Over 15MB Filter:

  • A new validation filter flags resources over 15MB, which is crucial for performance optimization.

Page Text Export:

  • Export all visible page text through the new `Bulk Export > Web > All Page Text` option.

Lighthouse Details Tab:

  • The ‘PageSpeed Details’ tab has been renamed ‘Lighthouse Details’ to reflect its expanded role.

HTML Content Type Configuration:

  • An ‘Assume Pages are HTML’ option helps accurately classify pages without explicit content types.

Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements:

  • Numerous small updates and fixes enhance stability and reliability. 

Screaming Frog SEO Spider version 20.0 is a comprehensive update packed with innovative features and enhancements that cater to the evolving needs of SEO professionals like us. From advanced data extraction capabilities with Custom JavaScript Snippets to environmental sustainability with Carbon Footprint and Rating, this release sets a new benchmark in SEO auditing tools.

Key Takeaway

Add this to your toolbox, or update to version 20 to explore the rich array of new features from Screaming Frog to optimize your website’s SEO, usability, and sustainability. It’s a no-fuss tool with tons of features that will help you stay ahead of your competitors, and ensure your websites perform optimally in terms of user experience and search engine visibility.

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Google Simplifies Adding Shipping & Return Policies For Online Stores

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woman online shopper affixes a barcode sticker to a cardboard box, marking it for return and refund

Google introduces Search Console feature for online stores to easily manage shipping and return policies.

  • Google now allows online stores to manage shipping and return policies via Search Console.
  • This simplifies providing vital information to customers.
  • The feature can potentially boost sales for retailers.

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