Secure Sites Get Ranking Boost on Google

April 27, 2016

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Google on 6th August 2014 announced that they will now be using HTTPS as a ranking signal in their Google search algorithm. Sooner, Google users will find pages beginning with HTTPS higher in their searches. The main motive behind this approach by Google Ranking is security, as it is a top priority for them. They have been working from a quite long time to make Internet a safer place, making sure that websites people access from Google are secure.

Earlier, Google also introduced HTTPS by default on its popular services like Gmail, Drive, and Search, that people using these will automatically have a secure connection to Google. The move of larger tech companies like Yahoo, Facebook, etc adopting HTTPS on their website was encouraging for Google to introduce this change.

For these reasons, over the past few months Google Ranking started running tests to check whether sites using secure, encrypted connections can be used as a signal in their search ranking algorithms and it showed positive results, so they are starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.

But, as per Google Ranking - for now webmasters need not to worry about this change because it gives secure websites only a minor ranking benefit i.e. a very lightweight signal - affecting less than 1% of global queries. It even carries less weight than other signals such as high-quality content, giving webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But to keep everyone safe on the web, Google may decide to strengthen this signal with time to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. This decision will encourage more sites to turn on encryption, as this makes them less susceptible to hacking.

SEO Concerns: You must be thinking that if having a secure site is so beneficial then why everybody is not doing it. There is a reason for this, as previously organizations have shied away from encryption due to cost, time concerns and also due to fear of slowing down their website response time. But, if you are one of them, then now with the availability of high-speed encryption technologies cost and speed is no longer an issue for transforming your website to a secure connection.

Google says, it’s safe to switch your website from HTTP to HTTPS, even for SEO purposes, but you need to take proper steps to ensure your traffic doesn’t suffer. Google will be publishing more detailed best practices in the future, but for now has provided some basic tips to get started:

• Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
• Use 2048-bit key certificates
• Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
• Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
• Check out our Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
• Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
• Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the no index robots meta tag

So, if you want your company to rank favorably on Google, you need to ensure that your web pages are encrypted. There is no chance of any excuses with this new Google announcement, as it is the first step to a secure web world.

If your website already has a secure connection – HTTPS encryption then you can test its security level and configuration with the Qualys Lab tool. And if you have any questions or concerns, you can post it to Google Webmaster Help Forums.


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