Two weeks ago Google announced it will start treating the security of the website as one of the ranking signals. It was revealed that Google was running a series of test in the last few months, aimed at understanding the impact secure websites have on the search experience. Encouraged by the positive results, Google decided to introduce HTTPS as a ranking component.
What is HTTPS and why secure websites matter
In scientific terms HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a communications protocol for secure communication over a computer network, with especially wide deployment on the Internet. An easier way to describe it is that it encrypts the data passed between your browser and the actual website, protecting the privacy of any action or information you share with this site. HTTPS is widely used by financial institutions, online payment systems and other websites where private information is shared.
The reason why Google is encouraging other websites to introduce HTTPS is to expand overall online security beyond the obvious domains. HTTPS website is less vulnerable to hacking, which means more and more information can be securely stored. And in nowadays, where every piece of information about our online behaviour might be valuable to 3rd parties, having this data protected is definitely beneficial from users’ perspective.
Google promised to publish detailed best practice recommendations in the upcoming weeks. To make the adoption of secure protocols easier, they’ve shared a few basic tips:
- Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
- Use 2048-bit key certificates
- Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
- Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
- Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
- Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.
If your website is already using HTTPS – you can check its security level using Qualys Lab tool. If you are considering changing your site’s domain – this article might be very helpful. From long-term perspective is it definitely worth considering adding HTTPS upgrade as part of your digital strategy.
And finally – don’t forget to add Webmaster Tools to your website and talk to our team about making the best use the available data. Stay safe online!