HTTPS: A Welcomed Ranking Signal

Over the past few years Google have been working hard on improving the security of all their products. But it’s only in the last couple of years that they have they been rolling out HTTPS as default to users – the most significant within the SEO community being encrypted search which led to the (not provided) era.

Last week Google took a major step towards improving website security across the web with the announcement that HTTPS is now an official ranking signal, albeit “a very lightweight signal”.

Please note – because a signal is labelled as “lightweight” doesn’t mean you should take it…well…lightly!

Google confirmed that this update is relatively small update “affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS.”

They continue to say “[…] over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

This is a very welcome move and it is my opinion that their “may” is more likely to be a “will”. I’d therefore recommend everyone to invest in making the switch to HTTPS.

To help make this changeover go smoothly, Google also mention several things to consider. Initially, it’s important to determine the kind of certificate your site needs: either single, multi-domain, or wildcard.

Following this, it’s important to allow the indexing of your pages by search engines and to avoid the noindex robots meta tag. Blocking a HTTPS site from crawling with the robots.txt is also not recommended.

If moving to HTTPS provides additional security and holds even a slight influence over ranking performance, the above tweaks are more than worthwhile. Moving to a safer web is now more rewarding than ever before.

If you need help or require advice on all things HTTPS, why not speak to us?