HTTPS as a ranking signal

https as a ranking signal

Image source: SSLSHOPPER – the purpose of using ssl certificates

Google has announced a couple a day ago that they are considering the HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) as a ranking signal, as they state that security is a top priority.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a communication protocol over the computer network. Basically, HTTPS is the result of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) combined with the SSL/TLS protocol, adding the security capabilities of the SSL/TLS to the standard HTTP communications.

Why is Google encouraging HTTPS?

Making one of their top priorities the network security, Google is working to make the Internet safer, not only by making sure that the websites people access from Google are secure but also by creating resources that help webmasters prevent and fix security breaches on their websites.

For this reasons, Google has been running tests over the past few months in order to determine if they will consider or not secure, encrypted connections as a signal on their ranking algorithms. Seeing a positive result, they decided to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.

Why you should use HTTPS?

Users expect a secure online experience when they browse to your website. Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure protects the integrity and confidentiality of your users’ data. This is important because all the information users send on the internet passes from a computer to another until it gets to the destination server and any computer standing in between the user and the destination server can see information as credit card numbers, usernames and passwords as long as the website does not use an SSL cetificate.

HTTPS provides three key layers of protection:

  • Encryption: when users browse through your website, encryption makes sure that nobody can “eavesdrop”, track their activity or steal personal information.
  • Data integrity: the data that the user receives or sends cannot be modified during the network communication without being detected.
  • Authentication: assures the user that it’s communicating with the intended website and builds trust, which converts into other business benefits.

For the moment, this ranking signal is slightly important, as it affects less than 1% of the global queries, and has less weight than other signals, while Google gives time for webmasters to switch to HTTPS, but over time, they will surely add more value to it as they encourage and want to keep everyone safe on the web.