The key reason to move to HTTP2

There are many good reasons to move to HTTP2, however, there is only one great reason to move and as an SEO specialist you might be surpirsed to elarn the answer isnt SEO.

Have you heard about http2 – while it’s not that new, it has gained a lot of attention recently? If you are unsure whether you should make have the switch there is one very good reason why you should.

What is HTTP2?

Before we analyse what the key benefit of upgrading to http2 is, let’s cover what it is.

HTTP was originally created in the early 1990’s by Tim Berners-Lee, and it hasn’t really changed a lot since then, so while everything else has changed, the protocol to the web hasn’t. There were slightly updated in mid-1990’s but nothing major since. This was written pre-Google (yes there was a time before Google, I can just about remember it).

In 2015, that all changed with the release of HTTP2 – fundamentally the big difference is the amount of page requests ti can perform at once.

If your interesting to learn more about the technical details of HTTP2, here is a great resource, or you can just trust it – it’s great for your site.

What is the key benefit:

SEO

SEO image

It’s not for SEO reasons, while it will the reason will help SEO rankings especially on mobile – the key reason to upgrade is not SEO on its own.

 

Google can’t even detect at the moment whether your servers are using HTTP2, but moving to HTTP2 will improve your SEO, which you will find out if you read on.

 

Costs

It’s not costs either – in fact depending on your set up moving to HTTP2 won’t cost you anything and can actually be done in around 5 minutes with a few changes on the back end.

 

If you are using Cloudflare – it’s a switch of a button, so even less time to implement and no costs.

 

Security

Again this isn’t the reason to move to http2, that said you do need to be secure to benefit from http2, so your site will already be secure.

 

If you are not https you will need to make that switch as well, but there are plenty of benefits of moving to https.

 

Backwards compatible

 

The good thing about setting your server to benefit from using http2 is that it’s backwards compatible so if your users are using browser which doesn’t support http2 or older version of browsers which do support http2 so you don’t need to worry – however this isn’t the reason to switch, it’s just one less thing for you to worry about.

 

Speed

Website loading speed icon

The main reason to switch to http2 is speed. In our tests, it has reduced page load speeds in half.

 

Speed matters for a number of reasons, but Amazon is famous for saying for every additional second it takes to load the site – $1.6 billion a year would be lost in sales.

This study is quite a few years old so that number is likely to be higher. While it’s likely you don’t have the same traffic levels as Amazon, the same rules still apply. The longer it takes to load your site, the fewer conversions you are going to get. This affects all your efforts.

 

Speed matters a lot when it comes to User Experience – users hate slow loading sites, getting them to load quicker is key. There are other things which you can do to boost the time it takes to load your webpage, but moving to http2 is by far the easiest and quickest. The other things still should be done.

 

Rankings and therefore traffic, if you weren’t aware Google recently released a separate mobile index and said one of the key factors to determine your rankings were speed, which makes sense. Slow loading sites, load even slower over 3G connections and similar and Google really does care about UX and wants to send people to sites which also have a good UX.

 

Another thing to impact rankings is users bouncing back to Google and visiting a different site. A slow loading page will definitely make users bounce back to Google, we have tested this and CTR and bounce rate does impact rankings.

 

If your pages load quicker it means Googlebot can crawl more of your website meaning more of your website allowing more pages to be either updated in the index or found. It’s ok changing the content on a page but until Google releases the content has changed it’s not going to change the SERPs. If you reduce the time it takes to crawl a page, it means Google can crawl more pages as you only have a certain Crawl Budget. 

 

PPC – while I have heard rumours, we don’t tend to focus on PPC but we have heard from July 2018, if your site takes longer than 2 seconds to load it will negatively affect your quality score. This will, in turn, make your PPC campaigns less effective and push up your CPA. If someone can confirm this in the comments that would be great.

 

Not sure if your site is http2, it’s pretty easy to check – type in your URL and it does the analysis and lets you know.

https://tools.keycdn.com/http2-test

 

Even if you don’t care about SEO or Security then you should still switch to http2 as it will allow you to load your pages quicker, increasing conversions on your site and drive you more business – I don’t know many websites which can afford to say they don’t need/care about any additional business.

About

Hello, my name is Andrew Halliday a UK based professional SEO expert and consultant of 9 years. Over those years, I have gained a great wealth of SEO knowledge. I have helped hundreds of companies around the world. I specialise in Technical SEO audits and Server Log Analysis. “You wouldn’t build a million dollar business on quicksand, so don’t build a million dollar website on poor foundations”

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