Search Engine Optimization: HTTPS Now Matters
Making your website more secure for visitors can be a good thing for a number of reasons, but now it seems this can also have a positive impact on your SEO rankings.
Google has just revealed that switching to HTTPS (in other words, adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site) may give your site a Google ranking boost. But just how much of an impact will it have, and is it worth it?
In a blog post on its Webmaster Central site, the Google team noted they make it a top priority to ensure the security and trustworthiness of sites that people access via Google. In what seems to be an attempt to provide some extra motivation for sites to beef up their security, Google shared that they are starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it is just what they call a “lightweight signal” because it affects fewer than one percent of global queries and is weighted less heavily than other factors such as high-quality content.
Considering this news was released to the Wall Street Journal proactively, this change is certainly going to become more important in the future.
Of course, as with any website-related change, there is always the possibility of a short-term negative impact on traffic during and immediately following the transition. Google promises to share some best practices in the next few weeks to help make the conversion go more smoothly. For now, you can find more information in their Help Center.
In addition, Google shares these tips:
- 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 Google’s 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 noindex robots meta tag.
Given the value of providing a secure online experience for your visitors, coupled with the fact that Google will inevitably increase the importance of this as a ranking signal, it seems those who have put off making the switch to HTTPS should be prepared to do so, the sooner the better.
Currently, KEO Marketing’s SEO team is running testing on these updates and seeing positive results. If you need assistance with any aspect of your search strategy or optimizing your website for SEO benefits, KEO Marketing can help.