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Google To Boost HTTPS/SSL Secure Sites in Search Rankings

Sites with HTTPS/SSL Security Will See Rankings Increase in Google

Security in search has long been a priority for the powerhouse Search Engine. Matt Cutts and the Webspam team at Google are continuously improving the way they protect our information and improve our user experience; this security move is no different. Much like the Google Hummingbird algorithm update back in 2013, this boost to SSL certified sites is one step closer to encrypting all of search and helping to secure online user information.

Yes, it is a benefit to add a 2048-bit SSL certificate to your site, but for now the security level of your website is only a lightweight ranking signal that will affect “fewer than 1% of global queries and carry less weight than other signals such as high-quality content“, says Zineb Ait Bahajji in the official blog post from Google Webmaster Central. Zineb also points out that it is important that you start to transition your website(s) to HTTPS sooner rather than later as the security signal could be a higher rated signal over time.

The SEO Effects of Going HTTPS

For those of you unsure of how migrating to HTTPS will affect your current standings with Google and are concerned with hurting your rankings, rather than helping them, fear not.

Google has been telling webmasters it is safe to move to HTTPS for years and now that encryption is so prevalent in today’s webdev culture, now is as good a time as any to make the jump.

The only thing we caution is that you do it properly to ensure your traffic numbers do not suffer. Google has said they do plan to provide more information on how to migrate to HTTPS in the future, but for now have provided the following tips:

  • Decide on the level of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, wildcard
  • 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
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawing using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.
  • Monitor your Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools data closely to ensure everything was migrated correctly.

If you have any questions on how including a SSL certificate on your website can improve your search engine rankings, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line through our contact us form or on Twitter.

(photo courtesy of Perspecsys Photos Flickr: creativecommons)

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