Last summer, Google announced that it had started factoring website security into search engine rankings. Essentially, this means that websites might be able to perform better in SEO if they switch from “HTTP” to “HTTPS.”
Google said in its announcement that they had begun taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in their search ranking algorithms. Hence, website security has become a so-called “search signal”— something that improves a website’s search engine rankings.
How big of a factor is site security in search rankings?
Currently, security is just one small aspect of search engine rankings. Google says security still carries less weight than other search signals, such as high-quality content. However, Google also said that over time, they will likely strengthen the role of website security in SEO, as they (Google) would like all website owners to eventually switch from HTTP to HTTPS to make the Internet safer for everyone.
So, what does this mean for you and your website? Well, it might be time to switch over to HTTPS if you haven’t already. It’s probably better to make this change now, while Google isn’t weighing security too heavily as they give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. This way, you’ll be prepared once site security becomes a stronger search signal.
How do I make my site more secure?
An SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer certificate) is a file installed on your website or personal server. Once installed on your server, the certificate will encrypt all the information sent from and to the user to protect the confidentiality of all transactions.
When an SSL certificate is installed, it activates HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over SSL), and the standard HTTP in your site’s URL is changed to HTTPS, telling the browser that the site is secured by SSL. A padlock on the right-hand side of the URL bar indicates that the browser’s connection to the server is secure.
Here are some tips for securing your site, straight from Google:
- Decide the kind of [SSL] 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.