My first blog post after a long hiatus, here we go. I thought it would be good to write about the HTTPs adoption rate among Australian based e-commerce websites.
Background on HTTPs for SEO
If you have not received the memo, Google has been encouraging websites to go secure by giving websites with HTTPs implemented site wide a small ranking boost since 2014. In their quest to promote the HTTPs everywhere initiative, they announced that they’ve adjusted their indexing system to look for more HTTPs pages in 2015. Here’s a quote from the article:
Specifically, we’ll start crawling HTTPS equivalents of HTTP pages, even when the former are not linked to from any page. When two URLs from the same domain appear to have the same content but are served over different protocol schemes, we’ll typically choose to index the HTTPS URL
In addition to the above SEO benefits, Google also launched an update the popular Chrome browser (which has a massive marketshare globally) to improve how the browser indicates connection security to an end user. This update which rolled out earlier this year labeled webpages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure, with the goal of making it super obvious to users based on the following roadmap:
Come October 2017 (only a couple of weeks away), websites that have not implemented sitewide HTTPs will be smacked with a big fat “NOT SECURE” label in Chrome. Here’s an example of what it looks like:
Can you imagine what this is going to do to conversions? Users are going to be freaked out and it is going to be huge conversion KILLER!
Australian Online Retail HTTPs Adoption Rates
Back to the main subject, I wanted to find out how many ecommerce websites in Australia have successfully adopted and migrated to HTTPs in preparation for this update that is about drop in next month (Oct 17). Without spending a fortune engaging a research company, I did it on a cheap and over a weekend. Here’s the research:
Disclaimer: I am not a research professional, take this research with a grain of salt. Accuracy of this research is not 100% but I’ll outline the methodology below.
- Gathered a sample size of 3,654 Australian based ecommerce websites (thanks to Afterpay, Zippay & Zipmoney for their client list 😊)
- Crawled all 3,654 homepages as HTTP to check if they redirected to HTTPs
- Using the awesome URL Profiler, I also checked all 3,654 sites for their CMS type (limited accuracy) and to verify that the HTTPs versions of the homepage are indeed indexed by Google
- Used good old Microsoft Excel and the power of pivot tables to slice and dice the data
Here’s what the raw spreadsheet looks like:
Based on a sample size of 3,654 Australian ecommerce websites, 67% have implemented HTTPs
I was completely surprised by this figure if I am being honest. I honestly thought that the results were going to swing the other way around. Once I dissected the data by CMS and platform, it makes much more sense.
As show in the above chart, a huge percentage of websites in dataset are Shopify websites, followed by WordPress+Woocommerce. Being on the Shopify platform has its benefits, bulk of technical SEO 101 stuff is looked after for you – HTTPs implementation for example. I am actually surprised that Bigcommerce has not gone down the same route as Shopify, seeing that they have the same SaaS type offering.
Personally, I am not surprised to see majority of the websites that are “Not Secure” to be on open source or custom platforms. There are a lot more nuances and complexities with implementing HTTPs across the entire website. Trust me, we deal with this a lot at Bespoke!
Thanks to the SEMrush integration with URL Profiler, I thought it would be good overlay some estimated organic traffic data to understand which high traffic websites that are “Not Secure”. Here’s the top 10:
And here are the top 10 “secure” websites as a comparison:
Well, there you have it. Not a bad way to spend the weekend scraping websites and wrangling with data. My simplified research and analysis on the state of HTTPs adoption among Australian based e-commerce websites.
Moving / Migrating to HTTPs Tips
If you are running and online business, transacting online or capturing user information on your website, it is in your best interest to transition your entire websites to HTTPs. It is not so much more than just for SEO, UX and conversion rates are equally at stake here. If you are in the process of migrating to HTTPs (which I strongly encourage that you do), below are the steps that you will need to implement:
- Purchase an SSL certificate (at least 1024-bit encryption)
- Get your developer to install the SSL certificate
- Update the base URL of your store to HTTPs
- Implement 301-redirects (HTTP to HTTPs)
- Refactor internal links and hardcoded URLs
- Avoid and check for non-safe images
- Register HTTPs in Google Search Console
- Generate new XML sitemap and robots.txt
This topic of HTTPs migration has been covered and document by many of my industry peers, here are a few that I recommend:
- The Big List of SEO Tips and Tricks for Using HTTPS on Your Website by Cyrus Shepard
- Securing Your Site with HTTPs & Migrating from HTTP to HTTPs by Google
- HTTPs Migration Checklist in Google Docs by Aleyda Solis
Follow the above steps and instructions outlined by these supporting posts, you will smoothly transition to HTTPs with minimal issues and errors.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I have enjoyed pulling it together.
Now for the shameless plug and sell! If you are in the middle of a HTTPs migration and need some help or advice, please get in touch with on my socials. Until next time…