HTTPS Google Update: SSL Is An SEO Ranking Signal

Phil Singleton

Phil Singleton

Phil Singleton is a Google Marketing and SEO expert in Kansas City. Contact Phil today for a free SEO strategy consultation.

Table of Contents

Most people are familiar with the ‘http’ appearing before most web addresses, but may not know what those letters stand for, or their significance. This can be dangerous and even costing you in the rankings if you don’t take the time to learn a bit more about what this means.

What was the HTTPS Google Update & Why is SSL Important for SEO?

Hyper Test Transfer Protocol is what the letters HTTP stand for. But, what about, HTTPS? Does that one, seemingly small letter really matter?

The answer to this is a resounding YES – it turns the traditional meaning of HTTP and adds ‘secure’ at the end. This means that all of the communications between your browser and the website you have accessed are encrypted. HTTPS is commonly used for protecting confidential online transactions, including online shipping and online banking.

When visitors come to your website and see ‘https’ instead of the usual ‘http,’ they will have peace of mind that their data is being protected.

How does HTTPS Secure Data?

There are two primary ways that HTTPS protects and encrypts communications:

  • SSL – Secure Sockets Layer
  • TSL – Transport Layer Security

Both SSL and TLS use what is referred to as ‘asymmetric’ Public Key Infrastructure. This uses dual keys for encrypting communications, but a public and private key. Anything that is encrypted with the private key can be decrypted by the public one and vice-versa.

HTTPS – SSL and Web Ranking

Now that you know this SSL protection provides peace of mind for website visitors, did you know that providing this security for consumers may also help boost your ranking.

Google has stated that it provides websites with a small ranking advantage when they have this level of protection present. While this factor carries much less weight than the other signals, such as quality content, it may be strengthened at any time to encourage all website owners to make the move from HTTP to HTTPS. This is a move that would protect everyone’s security while online.

Helpful Tip: When deciding to make the move to HTTPS you need to keep in mind that Google offers step by step instructions to help you do this. Since it benefits users, there is a good chance this will be weighted more heavily in the future in terms of search engine results.

Getting an HTTPS Site

When you decide that you want to move your website from an HTTP to HTTPS address, you will need to decide what type of certificate you will need. There are three basic options: wildcard, multi-domain or single. You also need to ensure that you do not block the HTTPS from using robots.txt. The pages need to be allowed to be indexed by the search engines when possible and avoid using the noindex robots meta tag.

The fact is, SSL encryption protects you, as well as your website visitors. Taking the time to change to this option will provide your visitors with peace of mind and may even help to boost your SERP rankings.