HTTPS security is now an SEO ranking signal

Just a few weeks ago Google announced that they are now using HTTPS encryption as a search engine ranking signal.   When you visit a website, you can tell if it uses security encryption if the web address begins with https:// rather than http://.  The web browser may also show the padlock icon. 

In an effort to make the Internet more secure, Google is encouraging all websites to switch from HTTP to HTTPS.  HTTPS is also often referred to as SSL or TSP.  In this short article, we explain more about this change.

Google have reported that over the last few months, they have detected a positive link between website security using HTTPS and high quality websites.  As such, they have decided to use HTTPS as one of their many ranking signals.  For the time being, HTTPS will have a weak influence on rankings, but this may change over time as more sites adopt HTTPS.

Many of the websites you use day to day already use HTTPS, such as google, youtube and most online stores.  With the growing concern about hacking and security of use data, many more webmasters are adopting HTTPS on their website.  HTTPS essentially ensure that the data shared between the website and your computer occurs over a secure, encrypted, authenticated connection.

In order to implement HTTPS on your website, you need to purchase SSL security from a provider.  As this is a technical change, this is best achieved through your web developer or web host, who will facilitate this purchase on your behalf. 

Are there any downsides to using HTTPS security?

There is a yearly fee in which to purchase a SSL certificate, ranging from $30 to $300 depending on the selected features.  There is also some extra bandwidth overhead at the start of the connection to a HTTPS website.

On low speed or poor Internet connections, HTTPS is not recommended, as the setup process between the device and the website may make the user experience very slow or even unusable.  An example of such a connection might be a mobile used in a rural or remote area.

How do I move my website from HTTP to HTTPS without problems?

This is a technical issue, and your web-master should follow the guidelines recommended on this page:

More information?

If you have any questions, please contact the author below, Nick Jerrat, managing director of Publish My Web.

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