Updating http to https on dealer websites

Russ Chandler
Last year Google announced they would give a ranking boost to websites updated to a secure certificate (meaning HTTPS vs HTTP at the beginning of your domain name). I haven't seen any major website providers or dealers make this update but have seen a few major 3rd party sites make the update (cars.com. For those you haven't heard this is the first couple lines of your domain. For example- http://www.abcmotors.com vs https://www.abcmotors.com. To update your website domain from http to https, you would need get with whoever hosts your .com and ask for secured connection certificate to be installed on your website. This activates the https and designates ensures a secure connection between your website visitors and website during any submission of personal information. See Google's official blog post on the topic- http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html From a marketing perspective, when capturing cookie information from new website visitors or capturing much of what is used for behavioral targeting its necessary to have a secured connection (https). I'm curious if any dealers have made this update and why or why not. Would also love from any website providers and whether they plan to implement this across all their dealers or what it would take for a dealer to get their website updated.
Jillian Marchewka
I have made sure to have an SSL certificate on our dealership website since our launch in January because of just this! To be fair though, I built our website from the ground up (Wordpress + DealerTrend for Inventory), so I have a lot of control/flexibility to implement stuff on our website that many dealerships who deal with big vendors may not be able to do, because their back-ends are their own proprietary system. It was super easy for me to implement! I've noticed that a lot of dealerships in our area do not have SSL certificates, which bogs my mind! Same with mobile responsiveness!
Russ Chandler
Thanks for sharing Jillian. If you don't mind me asking, how hard did you find the process? How long did it take? How much was it? There are a lot of product features that are going to be possible or not possible based on whether or not their website is http or https. I'm with you in it surprises me how many dealers haven't transitioned yet with it being such an easy way to get an SEO/SERP boost!
Jillian Marchewka
@Russ - The process of getting an SSL certificate or building our website? The SSL certificate was super easy... I just bought it through our webhost (WP Engine) and it pretty much walked me through enabling it on our website/domain. $49 for a year, and it is on automatic renewal. (wpengine.com/support/add-ssl-site/wp)
Russ Chandler
@Chris, Thanks for sharing the articles, it definitely falls under the category of SEO items that are a "nice to have" but not something that will make a major impact alone. It does pose the question, are there any negatives to doing it? It seems like an obvious best practice and I'm guessing it will grow to be a larger factor moving forward but is there any reason NOT to do it at this point? @Jillian, Yes, I was just curious on the details of your experience in purchasing/setting it up on your website. Sounds like it was pretty painless for you. Having https enables many products to pull in website visitor information via their a cookie. You can target customers with special offers or shoppings tools to specific segments of visitor type, referral sites or even the keyword terms used when coming from Google. This however isn't possible when a visitor transitions from https to http, the cookie information is unaccessible. This is part of what made me wonder how hard or difficult it would be to ask a dealer to upgrade to https in order to receive those type of behavioral targeting abilities.
Carl Maeda
There aren't any big disadvantages of HTTPS. Here's two that I can think of: Its' slower due to the overhead caused by encryption on the browser and the server. It might add maybe a second to the page load time on most computers. Old browsers (IE7) don't support the modern way of serving secure content and they won't be able to see your site. But the amount of traffic lost is probably 5% or less. If the website is using https, everything else must also support https. This includes whoever hosts your inventory images, all your third-party javascript widgets (such as chat) and third party applications.

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