Google now awards HTTPS addresses an SEO ranking signalLast Updated: September 16, 2014
What is HTTPS and how does Google awarding it a new ranking signal affect your business?
The news that Google is now awarding a ranking signal to HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) serviced websites should be welcomed by all online traders using this technology. Google will now award a ranking signal to HTTPS websites during search engine optimisation, thus rewarding businesses and other online retailers/traders that have these addresses. The change is – for now – a ‘lightweight signal,’ but Google has not ruled out awarding this more weight or priority to it in the future.
If you trade online and have a web address beginning with HTTPS, your website will be more secure. This is because HTTPS encrypts data which is transferred over the web as opposed to HTTP addresses which does not encrypt data. HTTPS also guards against data being altered or corrupted – intentional or not – and alerts you if data corruption has occured.
HTTPS uses SSL technology to protect the data that is being transferred. To obtain SSL security you must obtain an SSL Certificate (usually this must be paid for) and install in on your server.
If you have a HTTP website and are worried that this may affect your own SEO rankings, there may be no need to worry – if your website does not obtain sensitive data from users/customers on your website, there is little need for it. The ‘lightweight’ signal is merely one of about 200 signals Google uses during search engine optimisation, meaning for now it only makes a 0.5% difference.
For any site that is taking transactions or sensitive consumer details however, like e-commerce stores and payment gateways, using HTTPS has long become a standard and should be a priority. If you are an online trader and do not have a HTTPS protected website, we recommend your business obtains one as soon as possible.