Google prides itself on its security and has instituted a call for secure communication across the internet. In further support of safe and encrypted connections, Google is now instituting HTTPS as a ranking signal for search queries.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer. It is a secure communications protocol used over computer networks. It is also known as HTTP over TLS (Transport Layer Security). HTTPS is widely used on the Internet.
In June 2014, Google released a call for ‘HTTPS everywhere’, supporting security that includes authentication, data integrity, and encryption. Google’s own applications (such as Gmail and Google Drive) have been secured using HTTPS.
Google has now gone further in its support. Encouraged by positive results in testing, they are making the HTTPS protocol one of Google’s ranking signals. This means having one can actually increase your ranking in Google’s search engines. For now, the signal will only affect about 1% of queries. That means it still is not as important as quality content. However, webmasters can expect the percentage to increase in the future. This weak ranking signal is giving everyone time to switch over to HTTPS.
Switching over to HTTPS is a major change for websites. Webmasters will have to consider additional costs and redirection. Here are a few tips to get you started on the switch.
1) You’ll need to purchase a certificate from a certificate authority. This is encryption technology. It encrypts the data as it travels between the browser and the website. Further, it confirms that a website is taking a user where it’s supposed to. There are different kinds of certificates:
• Single certificates protect only one domain.
• Multi-domain protects up to 100 domains under a single certificate.
• Wildcard protects one domain and unlimited sub-domains.
• Bit keys determine how secure the encryption is. The security is higher for a higher bit key. A 2048-bit key is expected by Google.
2) You’ll need new URL’s. Google recommends using relative URL’s for information on the same secure domain and protocol relative URL’s for other domains.
• Relative URL’s are related to the context, or named as positions relative to the base URL.
• Protocol Relative URL’s leave out the protocol prefix as a solution to accessing HTTPS sites without problems.
3) Be careful with permissions allowed by your robots.txt file. If you want your site to be ranked in Google, leave out the noindex robots meta tag. A ranking signal will not matter if you don’t allow Google to crawl the site.
4) If you’re already using HTTPS, it’s still a good idea to check that security is proficient. Use the vulnerability scanner, Qualys Lab tool, to test site security.
5) For those wary of the switch, HTTPS switchovers can be done in stages if webmasters wish to test the process. Note that the ranking signal will only apply to specific URL’s and is not site-wide.
Switching over to HTTPS can be tricky and costly. However, Google is the most popular search engine available. When the HTTPS ranking signal increases in strength, you’ll want your site prepared for the change.
Links Web Design a Web Design Company in Maine has already iniatied this for their clients.