Google recently announced that they’re adding another point into their ranking equations, – SSL/HTTPS.
The reasoning behind this is that sites secured with a 2048-bit SSL key will likely provide users with more relevant results. Websites the implement this oft-tedious yet important security measure also tend to be ones of trustworthy quality.
The important thing to understand about this new search signal is that it carries less weight than other signals that Google currently uses. While Google has announced that they may weight this factor heavier in the future, it will likely only affect about 1% of the total websites listed in Google.
Should you bother with implementing HTTPS/SSL? That’s what I want to explore with you today, especially if you want to implement it purely for SEO-related reasons.
The Problems with HTTPS/SSL
The first thing you should know about switching from HTTP to HTTPS is that there are a number of potential problems hiding in the woodwork. You may end up with numerous error pages, problems loading content from third-party sources, and you may ultimately face ranking drops if these aren’t addressed in a timely manner.
The bottom line is that you don’t want your website to suffer, nor do you want your visitors to encounter additional problems purely for the sake of SEO.
Three Persuasive Reasons to Switch to HTTPS/SSL
HTTPS/SSL implementation on your website offers a heightened level of security to your visitors while giving a few additional benefits that may help your website perform better overall.
Below are the 3 reasons you should switch:
- SSL implementation makes your website look more like an authority source. This provides an additional measure of trust for your visitors.
- SSL can stop man-in-the-middle attacks, which is especially important if your website deals with sensitive information like credit card details, society security numbers or anything that might make your users a juicy target for cybercriminals.
- SSL makes your website more attractive to link to. Not only is it more secure, but other webmasters will more readily recognize your website as an authority source. This makes obtaining even low-value links like social bookmarks and social network mentions far easier.
Addressing Those Concerns
If you’re set on switching over to SSL, then there’s a few things you can do to prevent SSL from becoming a problem:
- Decide whether you want a single, multi-domain or wildcard SSL certificate. This will impact what measures you need to take.
- Always use 2048-bit key certificates. These are the most secure SSL certificates available, and the only ones Google’s new search signal will register at this time.
- Always use relative URLs when linking to secured same-domain resources.
- Use protocol URLs when linking to other domains or resources that may be hosted outside your SSL certificate’s coverage.
- Don’t block spiders from crawling your HTTPS site with your robots.txt, .htaccess or the “noindex robots” meta tag.
What do you think about Google adding HTTPS/SSL as a search signal? Do you think it’s a wise decision? Has it affected your rankings? Comment below!