HTTP/2: A New Protocol on the Horizon

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): A necessary application that is crucial for distributing information between systems and is the main data communication tool for the World Wide Web. Due to advancements in search engines and improved communication between browsers and servers, HTTP has acquired a few upgrades throughout it’s existence.

We know that HTTPS is becoming a more popular choice for websites as Internet scamming becomes more advanced. Using HTTPS is a more secure server connection that uses encryption to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information on a site. Sites such as Facebook, Search Engine Journal, and Wikipedia, among others have all switched over. Google has made multiple claims that this is an increasingly important part of their ranking algorithm.

However, there is another and almost equally as important type of HTTP that not many SEOs have ventured into yet: HTTP/2.

What is HTTP/2?

This protocol was introduced to greatly improve load times, specifically for users searching on their mobile devices. Mobile network load times tend to be sluggish at best, and unbearable at worst. Where HTTP/2 comes into play is that if you already have HTTPS set up, you can easily switch to HTTP/2. All major browsers — such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari — will support the new protocol. If you don’t have HTTPS set up, you’ll need to match that switch first.

Benefits of HTTP/2

Where HTTPS is a ranking factor, HTTP/2 is better for users. The load time will be significantly faster for those doing any mobile browsing Search Engine Journal even went as far as to claim that HTTP/2 could reduce load times more than Google AMP.

How will HTTP/2 Affect SEO

Google’s announcement for their support of HTTP/2 back in January should tell us that the search engine giant is moving more towards adding algorithms that cater to user experience. We’ve seen this before with Mobilegeddon — the race to make mobile friendly websites.

Although there may not yet be a significant boost in your rankings when opting for HTTP/2, note that it is still important for your users. It is strongly encouraged to look into making this change before it becomes a major ranking factor. Those who already have HTTP/2 probably set up the protocol directly after changing from HTTP to HTTPS. At the moment, not many SEOs have jumped at the opportunity to make this change. This could be because Google has not made it a big priority yet, or because HTTPS has been slow to catch on with many websites.

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