The New HTTP2 Hyper Text Transfer Protocol
HTTP/2, which was initially referred to as HTTP/2.0, is the second HTTP network protocol’s major version used by the World Wide Web. This much needed rejuvenation of the HTTP protocol was based mainly on Google’s own SPDY protocol. It comes with huge enhancements in communication between browsers and servers, lessening loading times.
There are two major changes; firstly, the protocol eliminated lots of redundancy in the headers. Secondly, it facilitates multiplexing (requesting multiple files simultaneously). According to HTTP Archive, there are more than 50% websites loading 75 or more files at present. As such, multiplexing is a big plus for newer websites that usually rely on more files.
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) change from HTTP/1.1 to HTTP/2 is easier than you think, and is without any hitches, in case a browser does not support HTTP/2. To enable your website to support the new protocol update (assuming your server supports HTTP/2), all you have to do is update your server software. Most of them either do – or will be adding support shortly.
HTTP/2 does very well on slower connections, for instance mobile networks. Without the other round trips, there is a significant reduction in loading time on mobile networks that are slower. According to the experts, HTTP/2 lessens the loading times for most mobile networks – more than Google AMP. However, that does not mean that the two cannot be used together.
Does HTTP/2 Have an Effect on Your SEO?
Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller said that Googlebot will support HTTP/2. However, whether this has happened is yet to be confirmed. While it may have taken place with all the algorithm alterations in January, it is hard to tell since there were numerous changes that were made. It is rather interesting that Googlebot never supported SPDY. Basing on Google’s announcement of support for HTTP/2, there are indications that this year they will probably be adding other user experience pointers to the algorithms – or may be at least HTTP/2 as a ranking signal. There may not be any notable improvement in your rankings, but you should bear in mind that by having a faster service, you are serving your users better.
Are SEO Companies Supporting HTTP/2?
It is surprising that a small number of SEO companies have apparently added support for HTTP2. A spot check on about 75 SEO companies, whose staff regularly write for different SEO blogs and speak at conferences, revealed that the total SPDY and HTTP/2 implementations could be counted on one hand. This is puzzling, since many of these firms sell better UX and augmented site speed in their service offerings. Could they be updating their clients’ sites and they are yet to get around to their own? Even though SEJ added support for HTTPS, it also does not look like it has support yet. Suppose they did, what would happen? An expert quick test from LoadImpact.com showed that SEJ’s load time for the homepage dropped significantly from 1.89 seconds to 1.25 seconds.
Remember that updating to HTTP/2 is not complex; it is as simple as updating the software of your server. Although you may not notice an increase in your ranking sooner, you can take comfort in this: extra speed will be great for your users and probably your conversion rates.
So, do you plan to switch to HTTP/2?