In August, Google announced that it would use HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) as a ranking signal. This means that the search engine giant is rewarding sites that use HTTPS encryption with higher ranking. The idea is to improve security in online data transactions and to allow for better referrer data.
Google itself ensures strong HTTPS by default which means that when you are using Search, Gmail or Google Drive, you automatically have a secure connection to the search engine. HTTPS is a safer version of HTTP, and in order to address a variety of security and privacy challenges, uses Secure Socket Layer to encrypt data flow.
Advantages of switching to HTTPS
HTTPS means HTTP with SSL (Secure Socket Layer). The benefits of switching to HTTPS are:
- Increased ranking – When Google indexes the new HTTPS URL, that URL will immediately see a small boost in ranking. The signal is on a per-URL basis and not on a site-wide basis, which means you can test it URL by URL.
- Enhanced security and privacy – The encryption adds an extra layer of security to the data passed between a user’s computer and the website’s server. It ensures that data transactions are done with the highest possible security.
- More Referrer Data – When the traffic goes from a non-secure HTTP site to a secure HTTPS or from HTTPS to HTTPS, the referrer is kept intact, and the secure referral information is preserved.
- Connection Speed – It has been pointed out that the website’s speed may slow down as HTTPS requires extra communication “handshakes” between the servers.
- Price – The price of SSL Certificates may vary as depending on how many domains or subdomains they will cover, and also on the level of identity verification.
- Mistakes – The migration must be done carefully. Errors can have a harmful effect on the organic visibility within Google.
- Compatibility – Older web applications may face problems, especially if the site was not originally built to be encrypted.
Tips to Move from HTTP to HTTPS
When switching to HTTPS, go by the following guidelines to maintain your ranking:
- As far as possible, use relative URLs
- Move all resources to Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
- 301 redirect setup
- Use Google Webmaster Tools
- HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)
- Revision of hard-coded internal links
- Sitemap updation
- Analytics tracking code updation
- Revise robots.txt file
Best SSL Certificates
Standard Validation SSL is a one way authentication that supports browser to server communication whereas Extended Validation SSL uses the highest level of authentication that is specifically created to boost and maintain customer confidence only after rigorous validation of their identity. You can use any of these SSL certificates. Creating an SSL-enabled website that utilizes HTTPS will boost your SEO by meeting Google’s considerations and winning the trust of your customers.