In August 7th, Google announced they will bring HTTPS/SSL into its new algorithm. Google has made changes to its search algorithm to give preference to more secure websites. But now the new algorithm only has a few effect on Google, who have hundreds of ranking algorithms. So it will influence about 1% of search volume in global. Google also said based on their tests for the past few months, the HTTPS signal showed “positive results” in terms of relevancy and ranking in Google’s search results.
How to Move?
Moving a site from HTTP to HTTPS could have technical problems if not implemented carefully. Google gives tips on how to handle the move here.
And, in its help files, it also talks about best practices for setting up HTTPS, which include helping the search engines see the site as secure by following these tips (more details exist on the help page itself):
- Redirect your users and search engines to the HTTPS page or resource with server-side 301 HTTP redirects.
- Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain.
- Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains or update your site links to link directly to the HTTPS resource.
- Use a web server that supports HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) and make sure it’s enabled.
So what is the reaction of the SEO and webmaster community to this news? Personally, I think there is little downside to going SSL, but it does take time and testing to do right. SSL certificates are really not that expensive, of course there are expensive ones, but you can buy cheap ones that work the same.
For now, encryption will remain a small factor in Google’s ranking formula, and the security of a website will carry less weight in ranking compared with other factors such as high-quality content. Google said it may put greater emphasis on the security measure in the future as part of its campaign to make it tougher for government spies and computer hackers to grab the personal data of unwitting Web surfers. Users can tell if a website is encrypted if its address begins with “https.” “We hope to see more websites using HTTPS in the future,” Google said in a blog post.