Why websites should be using HSTS to improve security and SEO
If you want added security, faster load times and stronger SEO for your site, contributor John Lincoln walks through why and how you should be using HSTS for a better user and ranking experience.
Site users and search engines don’t take website security lightly which is probably why you’ve likely heard of added security measures like HTTPS.
But a lesser-known security layer called HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is also available and can help protect your site and your search engine optimization (SEO) as well. Let’s walk through what HSTS is and how it works.
HSTS is a response header that informs the browser it can only connect to a certain website using HTTPS. HSTS increases both the speed and security of HTTPS websites. To fully understand what HSTS does, you need a little working knowledge of HTTPS.
HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is a secure version of HTTP. When a user connects to a site using HTTPS, the website then encrypts the session with a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate. In layman’s terms, it adds an extra layer of security to the site session and protects against hackers who may try to steal information from web users.
As you can imagine, this is especially useful for e-commerce, banking, or other transaction sites like Paypal, which require users to enter sensitive information.
Whether or not a site uses HTTPS is clearly visible to users. Those that are secure will feature a green secure symbol by the URL.