20Aug

Posted: 20 Aug 2014 Contributor: Sushil Kumar

Introduction of HTTPS as Google’s Another Search Ranking Factor

HTTPS as Google’s another Search Ranking Factor

For those who are new to this term may be thinking what HTTPS means exactly? There are two aspects to this, one is from a user point-of-view, it acts as a lock in the browser bar whenever we’re on a secure page e.g. any checkout page. Another is the technical point of view it makes use of a security certificate to validate the website and helps in encryption of communication which takes place between the server and client.

Let us discuss here Google’s latest announcement regarding HTTPS.

In its endeavor to make internet safer and provide industry leading security to all the websites being searched from it, Google has launched a new ranking signal to give HTTPS sites a small ranking boost. The main aim behind this announcement is to give websites a small ranking benefit called a “very lightweight signal“ which will encourage webmasters to migrate their sites from HTTP to HTTPS.

Apart from the Penguin or Panda algorithms, which were launched by Google earlier this new update will help to run the ranking signal on a real time basis. Webmasters should take a note of it, ranking of their websites will not jump from 3 to 4, but it will act behind the scenes and will give a tiny boost to the overall ranking algorithm. On the basis of the test analysis Google has said that it is going to impact less than 1% of global queries. This percentage could also increase as Google gives webmasters time to switch to a secured protocol.

Google’s HTTPS Ranking signal boost works on a per-URL Basis

If in case some website pages of your site have migrated to HTTPS and others not, as per Google’s announcement it will give boost to the ones which are on the HTTPS URLs and not to ones which are not. Actually this ranking signal doesn’t work on site wide basis but works on the per-URL basis.  Google wants webmasters to migrate their whole site to HTTPS but also gives an option to work in stages by doing it URL by URL basis.

As per this new update HTTPS will now be used as a ranking signal and hence will determine which website can appear at the top of the search engine results pages for any given search.

Following actions need to be taken by the webmaster for implementing HTTPS in their sites:

▶ Webmasters should consider adopting the HTTPS protocol for their websites, as it will offer more security for any data which is transmitted via website.
▶ It will certainly help your website from being jingled by Google over the next year as it incorporates this new ranking signal into its algorithms.
▶ This ranking boost is applied only to those pages that have SSL on them. It implies that if webmasters are not using SSL over the product and content pages then they won’t get any ranking boost. Ideally it is advised to make the whole domain name and all URLs go over HTTPS.
▶ Always communicate to Google that you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS
▶ Choose among these kind of certificates that you may need such as single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
▶ 2048-bit key certificates should be used
▶ Relative URLs to be used for resources that reside on same secure domain
▶ Protocol relative URLs to be used for all other domains
▶ Don’t use robots.txt file for blocking your HTTPS site
▶ Don’t use noindex robots meta tag instead allow indexing of website pages by search engines

This video by Google I/O explains how to implement HTTPS everywhere.

Benefits of implementing HTTPS in their website:

▶ Even a website or a blog, that does not have any user’s data, will still be secured using an HTTPS/SSL certificate.
▶ This gives you full data integrity and authentication to your websites and you don’t have to worry about how your content is received by some of your users.
▶ It is of extreme benefit for websites which are being developed for financial or medical transactions.
▶ Google will possibly provide further incentives for sites which migrate to HTTPS rather being on the HTTP one
▶ The term ‘S’ used in HTTPS means Secure, which indicates that any website which uses secure and encrypted connection across their domains will get the benefit of this ranking update

In the end aim of Google is not only to provide users with high-quality content but also make sure that web is secured as security is its prime concern.

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