Did you know that over 50% of Page-1 Google results are made up of HTTPS domains? That’s up from 30% just 9 months ago, and the trend has big implications when it comes to marketing for accountants.
You can easily tell whether a website is HTTPS or not by visiting a website, copying the URL from your browser, and then pasting it somewhere (e.g. Microsoft Word).
HTTPS stands for “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.” It is the secure variation of HTTP, which is probably the kind of prefix you’ve been used to seeing on website URLs in the past.
The “S” at the end of the former means that communications between your browser, and the website you are visiting, are encrypted – and therefore “secure.”
This movement towards HTTPS is set to only increase across the web, possibly hitting 65% of all page-1 Google results by the end of the year.
So how does this affect marketing for accountants? Should you scramble to get your website onto HTTPS?
HTTPS & Marketing For Accountants
Google have stated that they are not currently planning to bump up the importance of HTTPS as a ranking factor in their algorithm.
At the moment, Google appears happy with the natural movement towards HTTPS. There doesn’t appear to be an incentive to aggressively push for an HTTPS ranking boost.
In fact, such a move could be damaging right now, so it seems logical to assume Google will bide their time on this. Remember, as of writing there are still some big web players who haven’t yet moved over to HTTPS, including Wikipedia, YouTube and Pinterest.
So should you switch over? Is there a SEO benefit to marketing for accountants?
So, if you are looking to redesign your accountant website, it would certainly be worth moving over to HTTPS to improve your SEO. Security certificates don’t have to be expensive, and can even be free.
Reasons for doing so include the following. It is a ranking factor, there’s a good chance Google will increase it as a ranking factor in the future, and other factors are now in play, too.
For instance, Google Chrome now displays a warning to your website visitors if your page is looking to collect sensitive data from website visitors (e.g. credit card details, or password logins). Having HTTPS on your website is therefore a big boost to your brand’s authority and credibility.
If you are broadly happy with your accountant website, then you may not want to take the leap yet. However, at the very least, if you have a login area on your site – or any area requiring a password login – you’d be wise to consider putting this on HTTPS.
Be Careful If You Switch…
Migrating to HTTPS can present a nightmare scenario in marketing for accountants, if you get it wrong. We’d really recommend getting help from someone who knows what they’re doing if you’re not confident doing it yourself.
Here’s a list of pitfalls to avoid when migrating over to HTTPS:
- Stopping Google from crawling your HTTP website version, or blocking crawls of your site overall.
- Duplicating content, where there are both HTTP and HTTPS version of a page showing.
- The page is showing a different version on HTTPS to HTTP.
Most of these sorts of problems can be avoided by implementing a correct set of redirects.
Overview of the Process For Switching To HTTPS
Switching to HTTPS can be a powerful, positive step for improving marketing for accountants. Whether you choose to get help or not, it’s helpful to know the overall process involved for making this switch:
- Buy an SSL certificate.
- Install your SSL certificate
- Make sure all hard-coded links are updated to HTTPS
- Make sure relevant libraries (AJAX & Custom JS) are updated to HTTPS.
- Make sure new HTTPS URLs have 301 redirects.
- Update your robots.txt file.
- Install your SLL certificate onto CDN, and update origin URL.
- Enable HTTP/2 Support on CDN.
- Make sure all hard-coded CDN links are updated to HTTPS.
- For your SEO, update Google Search Console and Sitemaps.
- Resubmit your disavow file.
- Update your URL in your Google Analytics account.