Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP, is the primary syntax for websites. HTTP/2 builds on that foundation by making use of a program called SPDY, pronounced speedy, to make load speeds better by altering the way content is transported. The purpose of HTTP/2 is to allow internet capacity to keep up with the needs of the modern internet user. It was launched in 2015 to improve upon HTTP 1.1. Although most browsers do support HTTP/2, only a few of the world’s major websites have switched to it as a default. However, as more and more sites do so, it’s important to be at the forefront of this new movement.
The transition from HTTP 1.1 to HTTP/2 is more of a refresh than a complete overhaul, and the developers did this to make the change smooth and convenient for users. Some of the differences between the two are as follows: HTTP/2 is binary, not textual like HTTP 1.1; it is multiplexed instead of ordered and blocking; it can use one connection for parallelism; it uses header compression, and it allows servers to push responses onto clients’ caches. HTTP/2 leads to the transfer of information more directly and succinctly, allowing for faster load speeds. One connection can host multiple exchanges at once, and the server can summon content without needing to be directly called by the client’s computer. The difference between HTTP/2 and HTTP 1.1 can lead to a 0.2-second improvement. That may not look like much, but when talking about internet speeds, 0.2 seconds can make a huge difference.
Since this improvement has to do with the functioning of the internet itself rather than anything explicitly SEO related, the influence on SEO will be indirect. Search engines measure how good the user experience is, not anything directly related to HTTP/2. However, the slight improvement in website load times will show itself in search engine algorithms and lead to higher placement in their results. Furthermore, as more brands and marketers seek to improve their mobile footprint, the influence HTTP/2 will have on load times for mobile sites and apps will undoubtedly be significant. While new coding languages certainly have their applications, their effectiveness is only apparent when used in tandem with HTTP/2. By themselves, they have limited effectiveness.
The first step to converting your website to HTTP/2 is to switch to HTTPS. That may be the most tedious part of the process, but securing your site, if you haven’t done so already, is imperative to the fostering trust in the customer. Customers need to have a sense of security while browsing your website. Once you’ve converted to HTTPS, the rest should be simple. If you already have HTTPS, it may just be a matter of updating to the newest version of the software. It may also be that you’ve been using HTTP/2 already but weren’t aware. Because the top browsers are compatible with HTTP/2 and it’s still possible to access resources that use HTTP 1.1, the choice whether to switch is clear and provides a lot of benefits.