How HTTPS and Varnish Improve Search Engine Ranking?
In the current cyber era, web security has become a significant aspect of the internet and search engines.
One such element is HTTPS. By 2014, Google declared that it would give a small SEO boost to websites using HTTPS and consider it one of the Search Engine Ranking factors.
Serving sites over HTTPS rather than HTTP provides credibility to your site and an assurance of security and dependability to your users.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It acts as a secure version of the HTTP for sending data between the website and web browser. That is to say, most web servers use the HTTP protocol for creating communication between a website and the visitor's web browsers.
It is well-known that HTTP is nonencrypted so that anyone can read details about the data traffic between your server and the user's PC. For example, it can allow them to see your user's details like product interests, purchases and read identity data such as name, address, emails, and passwords. However, it cannot be good for your users and your business as a whole.
Due to these reasons, the usage of HTTPS is highly recommended by search engines. Moreover, it will also help to improve search engine ranking. The primary purpose of HTTPS is authenticating the accessible website while safeguarding the integrity and privacy of the data exchanged on a network from a potential man-in-the-middle attack.
HTTPS allows bidirectional encryption of data sent between your web server and the users. With that, the attackers can’t interfere in your communication channels using tampering and eavesdropping tactics.
For HTTPS, there is a secure TLS encryption added with the HTTP to the network traffic, ensuring that nobody can read the info sent by you towards your users or vice versa (except for the URLs).
In recent times, lots of online users only prefer and trust using HTTPS-enabled websites. To illustrate, if you have an e-commerce website, your web server will require a robust HTTPS implementation so that you can give your users many payment providers options.
How does HTTPS boost ranking?
As per Google, more than 70% of Google Chrome users visit HTTPS-enabled websites. They are taking steps to make web servers adopt the HTTPS website protocol using this data.
HTTPS boosts the website's ranking on the search engine for the simple reason that it is Google's global ranking factor for many years.
Optimization of search engines is a process that allows the SEO expert to improve the search engine ranking of a website. Further, SEO is an ever-evolving methodology that uses image, content, interface, and link optimization processes to give a website its highest search ranking on the web.
HTTPS protocol securely works because it includes an SSL 2048-bit key for every website. Meanwhile, an SSL certificate protects the connection between a website and the web server comprehensively.
After installing SSL on a web server, it activates the padlock to achieve optimum security in three layers for the users accessing the website. Thus, the encryption makes sure that the user's activity on the website isn’t tracked or stolen.
Data integrity helps in preventing file corruption when it gets transferred in a secure connection. Accordingly, authentication protects the user accounts on the website from being hacked, thereby building trust among the users. As search engines favor SSL on the websites, it's only logical to switch to HTTPS for websites to enhance their rankings.
What is Varnish?
The Varnish is a web app accelerator or a caching HTTP reverse proxy that reduces the time taken to provide the content to the user. Varnish saves the website in cache memory after the completion of the first-page load. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in minimizing the system and page loading times.
With that, the web server loads the website from Varnish directly instead of PHP. The resource-intensive process involves the PHP generating website every time it gets accessed. And then, it has to read the PHP code from the hard drive rather than the faster RAM wherein the cache storage is located.
But, with the use of Varnish, you get faster page load times and fewer system resources used than PHP. It means that this caching option allows the same hardware to handle more concurrent users in comparison with the same setup as having no Varnish enabled on them. It helps you understand how good Varnish can be in terms of making a website more accessible than ever before.
How does Varnish cache act as a web accelerator?
Varnish cache acts as a web accelerator because it requires the web servers to moderate all root rights and run on the system. It can be installed in front of any server having HTTP and configured to cache the contents.
Varnish speeds up the content delivery with a factor of 300x-1000x, depending on your web server’s architecture. This web accelerator has been a proven mechanism to help the website work more productively and efficiently for your clients.
Indeed, Varnish is a proven way to lessen the system and page loading timings of a website, thereby increasing the number of visitors per day and the revenue.
Moreover, this web accelerator functioning helps load balancing of all the connections, i.e., requests placed on your website. This happens when the connections are assessed as distant worker threads.
A limit is set to the number of connections that can be processed simultaneously as active threads. Upon reaching that limit, the Varnish cache server ensures that the incoming connection ends in a queue for processing. Once the limit is breached, then the next set of incoming connections are blocked.
Varnish configuration language (VCL) helps this web accelerator write and handle the policies associated with the connections made on your website. Serving the content of a particular type and where to pick it up from happens with the instruction set in this language.
VCL allows the alterations in incoming connections and the responses to them. Run-time parameters set the limit on timeout and threads. New scripts of VCL are modified, compiled, loaded, or activated best with a command-line management interface without needing a restart.
Hence, the Varnish cache web accelerator makes the Varnish with Magento work at its most productive levels for a particular website on the cloud platform.
How HTTPS and Varnish Improve Search Engine Ranking?
HTTPS and Varnish for search engine ranking work best together to give a faster and secure website experience to your users. If you have a highly customized Magento installation or many modules installed, then the page load time increases.
As a result, it can be detrimental, especially for your e-commerce business, as the potential users do not wait much longer online for the website page to load with lots of other options available to them.
That’s where the caching solution like Varnish needed on the Magento to speed up the page loads for the SEO experts. Magento only generates the website once, and then it gets saved on the cache storage.
As the user requests the reload of that website page, only the cache storage comes into play. Generally, it works with the static content without any problems; that’s why Varnish cache is disabled for logged-in users and if the shopping cart is not empty.
In this way, the HTTPS and Varnish used on Magento ensure that the search engine ranking improves your clients' better access to shopping services.
All in all, many organizations improve their websites with HTTPS and Varnish for search engine ranking. It helps the SEO experts in efficiently implementing their processes to optimize the website further.
To enhance the quality keywords, content, image, and interface of the website, HTTPS plays a critical part. Using the Varnish for search engine ranking is a viable option for your website because it grows your sales and bolsters your revenue over time.
How to manage problems with Varnish and HTTPS?
The Varnish can serve cache pages over HTTPS only with the termination of HTTPS connection on the web server, then sending the request to Varnish after that encrypting the response from Varnish again to send it back via HTTPS.
In summary, it means that all rights are HTTP and not HTTPS. Also, the webserver, i.e., NGINX, can handle all the HTTPS requests. This step has been taken because Varnish doesn’t support SSL directly and will not ever do it in all probability.
Moreover, you can improve Varnish by enabling it to cache dynamic pages, i.e., when a shopping cart holds an item or a user is logged in.
Thus, HTTPS and Varnish manage the problems related to the web server's requests efficiently. HTTPS and Varnish for search engine ranking is a unique combination that makes a website improve considerably.
What is the significance of ESI?
ESI or Edge Side Includes is a small markup language for dynamic web content assembly at the edge level. It has a purpose to tackle web infrastructure scaling problems. ESI is an application of edge computing with great significance for faster website load speed.
With ESI, Varnish can cache the content of the dynamic websites or at least the static part of a dynamic page. It is a very significant development for the HTTP accelerator known as Varnish. The quicker load of content for the dynamic websites increases the significance of ESI manifold times.
ESI has four main features:
Inclusion: It assembles the included content to create pages,
<esi:include src="http://examplewebsite.com/1.html" alt="http://bak.examplewebsite.com/2.html" onerror="continue"/>
It not only allows caching the assets but also the fragments.
Variables: ESI allows the use of variables that can be written into markup and defined in HTTP header cookies.
Conditions: Based on the conditions, you can make use of different markups.
Error Handling: Can use different URL in case of an origin server is not available
How does ESI work?
ESI works for dynamic web content assembly while taking care of scaling problems related to an e-commerce website's web infrastructure. For example, we have information related to the shopping cart on every page of our webshop.
So, if there is no item included in the shopping cart, it will have “Cart (0)” mentioned. If we add an item to the shopping cart, then the update should be “Cart (1),” and so on; meanwhile, the rest of the page stays the same.
We can make Varnish load the static page from the cache using ESI but replace this small part in the example with the dynamic version from Magento directly. Hence, we can now only use a very small part of a website from Magento instead of loading the whole website.
It improves the Varnish cache performance without giving up on the features of a website.
Bonus Tips to Improve Your Magento Store Search Engine Ranking
You are all done with setting up HTTPS and Varnish Cache. You may bring the best performance for the Magento storefront. But, you still need your customers to choose you over your competitors.
Here’s a quick look at a few tips to grab the attention, bring in more customers by improving your Magento store search engine ranking.
Have User-Friendly Product URLs Magento uses a long product URL. That is because it adds the store codes, too, making it look unprofessional and not-so-easy to interpret. Moreover, URLs with shorter names and fewer folders tend to rank better. Theoretically, it’s better to have simpler URLs that even a user with no technical knowledge can understand.
Use Canonical Tags to Mark Duplicate Pages Duplicate content is a strict no when it comes to search engine ranking. You may wish to use your original content multiple times. However, you may not be penalized for producing duplicate content.
At such times, it is best to use canonical tags to mark pages with the same content. You can have the direct search engines pointing toward the “preferred” or “canonical” version of the particular page.
Optimize the Images While optimizing the content, it is best to optimize the images too for making a strong SEO impact.
First, optimize all the images to load quickly. If your website does not load in 3 seconds, 50% of the customers will leave your website while negatively affecting your search engine ranking.
Second, have a descriptive and accurate name for the image file. As it will be a part of the image URL, it will help the search engines to scan better.
Third, have alt text for every image that you put. While the search engine cannot comprehend the image files, it is the alt text that helps it determine.
Unoptimized images can lead to slow loading time. Hence, compressing the size as much as possible with a lossless format will help. You can choose from an array of Magento extensions that can optimize each image you upload.
Link Internal Pages Internal page linking can boost your SEO rankings. For example, if the visitor is on one of your pages, you can link it to another page of your website, increasing their knowledge base.
Search Engine Ranking is a critical factor. Moreover, Magento has exciting capabilities to improve the overall platform of the business. However, take the help of these simple hacks and have a performing website.
At MGT-Commerce, we serve fast and cached websites via HTTPS and dynamic content for all your website pages. It helps us improve search engine ranking and your clients' experience on your website quite considerably.
What makes our service the best is that you need not worry about how it works. We ensure that you have happy clients and the best possible online performance by comprehensively setting up your website.
MGT-Commerce for Search Engine Ranking
HTTPS and Varnish ensure that you can have your website running at a faster pace all the time. MGT-Commerce provides Magento with both these website protocols so that your website is secure and reliable for your clients to use, especially for their e-commerce business.
You can have scalable infrastructure and versatile features on your website with Magento. At MGT-Commerce, we ensure that you get the best search engine ranking and performance from your website to increase your sales and achieve your growth objectives.
In this article, we have covered all the details regarding HTTPS and Varnish for search engine ranking. With that, we hope to have given you clear and concise information regarding all the benefits that you can have with Magento Hosting.
If you think there should be some improvements in the details mentioned above or any information missing from this article, you can mention it in the comments section below.
We would be delighted to hear and learn from you as well. You can reach out to us for a free consultation or a demo about our Magento product anytime!