Google Announce HTTPS Is Now A Ranking Factor

Stephen McCance August 11, 2014

A look in to Google’s latest update on HTTPS – they have now confirmed that it will be used as a ranking factor, affecting 1% of global search queries. To see if your site is prepared for it, check out the guidelines Google have issued in our post.

Two of the most important things to Google are increasing security and reducing web spam to make the internet a better place. In an ideal world the internet would be a giant Wikipedia; a simple, useful, trustworthy resource with good information and citations to prove what has been claimed in an article – of course, the only problem with this is Wikipedia doesn’t have adverts on, and we all know Google like adverts!

Google rarely categorically state that a certain factor will boost your site in the search rankings, normally they like to allude to something cryptically and then it is up to SEO technicians around the world to try and decipher it and use it to their advantage if/when they figure it out. This isn’t the case however with the latest update made via the Google Webmaster Central blog a few days ago – Google actually state the following:

At Google I/O a few months ago, we called for “HTTPS everywhere” on the web…so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content”

So what can you do to ensure your site is prepared for this update? Look at the following best practices published on Googles own blog (they will be releasing more detailed information soon):

  • What type of certificate do you need? Multi-Domain, Wildcard etc…
  • Only use 2048-bit key certificates
  • For resources that are on the same secure domain, use relative URL’s
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Try and avoid the noindex robots meta tag if at all possible and allow indexing of your pages by search engines

While this update may not seem too big because it only affects 1% of search queries – it is important to remember that 1% of search queries is around 60 million per day. If you run an online shop or collect any kind of sensitive data from customers online it would definitely be advisable to look in to whether you are set up correctly for the changes.

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