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HTTPS is now officially a ranking signal: Google

For any marketplace or a generic website, security is one of the biggest challenges that website owners have to consider for their customers. It was reportedly a major challenge for Google, has now induced HTTPS/SSL as a ranking signal in their search algorithm to help improve quality & security of websites.

Calling their new move ‘HTTPS everywhere‘, google intends to prevent unsafe elements and help secure websites to be accessed more by people through their (Google) search engine.

Google said in its exclusive blog that more and more webmasters are adopting the use of HTTPS (HTTP over TLS/Transport Layer Security) and has thus performed various experiments in the last few months, to find its outcome in favour of sites using secure encrypted connections as signals.

“We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal,” declares Google in their webmasters’ blog post. This sudden change in website ranking will affect only 1% of all queries across the globe and is a lightweight version claims Google. Considering the dramatic change, hosting companies are likely to take the advantage of this, where buying certifications and dedicated IP addresses involves a lot of costs.

Stressing on high quality content, Google added that while they give time to webmasters to switch to HTTPS, overtime they may improve the signal strength; which is likely to be a decisive factor. Their ultimate aim in turning tables was to simply encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

They have declared to publish detailed best practices in the coming weeks to make TLS adoption easier, and to avoid common mistakes. Here are some basic tips they posted on their blog.

  • 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 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.