HTTP vs HTTPS: What Is an SSL Certificate?

Technical SEO , SEO

Are you looking to increase your website’s SEO score?
Now that the world’s focusing more on the digital landscape because of the pandemic, optimizing your website is more essential than ever before. Doing this allows you to have a better organic search rate, generate more leads, and increase your conversion rates as a business.
With over six billion indexed websites on the Internet, you’ll need all the advantages to stay ahead of other websites. One factor most businesses don’t take note of is their SSL certification. It’s what differentiates HTTP vs HTTPS websites.
What is an SSL certificate, though? Does SSL improve SEO? To learn the answer to all those questions, read what we’ve prepared below for you today!

HTTP VS HTTPS: What Is an SSL Certificate?

What is an SSL certificate? SSL is short for “secure sockets layer.” These certificates are data files, often small and manageable for the benefit of the website, that you can install onto your website.
Upon installation, the certificate shows a padlock icon next to your URL. Speaking of your URL, you’ll notice that it also has an “S” added by the end of your URL prefix. This is also unlocked by the integration of the SSL certificate onto your website.
It’s the most notable difference seen by people when installing the certification onto a web server. What differences do HTTP vs HTTPS websites have, though?


Short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, this is the most basic form of communication between different systems on the Internet. This is what allows your website to transfer its data from the server to the browser.
This helps users access your data without any issue once they visit your website. As you can imagine, this is essential to generating leads and conversions in the first place. Without it, there’s no way for users to access anything from your website.
How this works is that the requests made on HTTP go through an origin server, which processes and responds to requests. It then generates responses that reach the users that then go to explore the rest of the website.


HTTPS is much like HTTP when you look at their basic functions. The only difference is the addition of “secure” to the prefix. This heavily modifies the request and response processing of websites.
With an SSL certificate installed and when a user opens a web page, the server produces a private and a public key. To users, there’s not much of a difference between an HTTP and HTTPS website. This is because they receive the public key, and processes continue as normal.
However, when the user sends out information to the server, it gets encrypted on the other session key, the private key. This ensures that the communication remains encrypted between the user and the server, protecting the user’s data.

Do I Need An SSL Certificate For My Website?

It’s normal to wonder if you need an SSL certificate for your website in the first place. If the website works well even without certification, why would you need to get one, right?
The answer lies in website security. More importantly, security for the customers that you’ll get. Encryption protects the customer’s data from simple threats like spyware and such.
An HTTPS website does this with the help of the aforementioned private keys. When a customer communicates information to your web servers, it won’t appear as they typed it thanks to the private key encryption. It will appear as a random string of letters and numbers to any foreign watcher.
Only your website, the provider of the key, will be able to decrypt and read it as the customer sent it.

Where Do You Get an SSL Certificate?

You can get an SSL certificate issued to your website by trusted Certificate Authorities. Only a few trusted CAs can produce certificates that operating systems and other devices recognize. What’s great is that there are lists of these trusted CAs on most operating systems.
If you’re presented with a certificate that’s not from one in the operating system’s list, then your device will show a series of error messages. This makes it important to look up the CAs that your device’s operating system trusts before getting certified.

How Does Having an SSL Certificate Affect My SEO?

Does SSL certificate affect SEO scores? The quick answer is yes, and it does so in many ways like the other SEO trends of 2021. Here’s a small list of ways getting an SSL certificate can help your website’s SEO score.

Recommended reading: Complete Guide to Technical SEO – HTTPS and SSL

Increased Security Measures

As mentioned above, SSL certificates do a lot to help with the security of your website. Besides encrypting the communication between you and your users, it also does so for the rest of your data on the website.
This has the unintended benefit of making customers feel safer on your website. This is also why Google incentivizes certified websites by giving them a bump in their SEO scores. This is an easy way to get ahead of most websites.

Increased Conversion Rates

Because customers feel safer on your website, they’re likely to engage more with your business. An instance of this increase in engagements becomes reflected in your conversion rates. This means that you’ll be selling more of your products to different users and visitors.
The more engagements happen on your website, the higher it ranks on the SERP, too. This is because search engine bots love active websites. They’ll push more people to visit the active website in case they’re interested in the product, too.

Get Your Website an SSL Certification Today

The outcome of the battle between HTTP vs HTTPS should be obvious. Getting yourself an SSL certificate is the best way for your website to become more appealing to customers and search engines alike. So, get your website certified and reap the benefits today!
Does all of this sound overwhelming to you? No worries! At StudioHawk, we’ve recently launched the Hawk Academy – the missing link in SEO Education. Head over now to get informed.