Google Gives Secure Sites A Ranking Boost

Here’s Why:

Google says this gives websites a small ranking benefit, only counting as a “very lightweight signal” within the overall ranking algorithm. BUT, there’s more to the story! In fact, Google said this carries “less weight than other signals such as high-quality content.” Based on their tests, Google says it has an impact on “fewer than 1% of global queries” but said they “may decide to strengthen” the signal because they want to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

Will I get more traffic with SSL?

YES! Stats have shown that having SSL on your site can decrease your page bounce rates significantly. Some results have show a decrease as much as 50% in bounce rates. That equates to great increase increase in traffic. Bounce rates are equated in Google’s Algorithm, lower bounce rates equal higher rankings!

Google Gives Ranking Boost To Secure HTTPS/SSL Sites

Google also said based on their tests for the past few months, the HTTPS signal showed “positive results” in terms of relevancy and ranking in Google’s search results.

As you may remember last year, at SMX West, Google Gurus said they would love to make SSL a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. And that’s just what they did!

SEO Concerns With Going HTTPS

Should you be concerned when switching from your HTTP to HTTPS site for SEO purposes? Not so much. Google has been telling webmasters it is safe to do so for years. But you need to take the proper steps to ensure your traffic doesn’t suffer. That means make sure to communicate to Google that you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Google promises to release more documentation in the future, but for now has provided the following tips:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

Google has also updated Google Webmaster Tools to better handle HTTPS sites and the reporting on them.

One last thing: You will want to make sure to track your HTTP to HTTPS migration carefully in your analytics software and within Google Webmaster Tools,.

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