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HTTPS – Another Google ranking factor

HTTPS – Another Google ranking factor
September 24, 2014 Shekhar Vaidya

Google says –
“For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS.”

I was not feeling confident enough as yet to start advising all my clients to start blindly switching to https. We all need to be educated about several points here

a) Is it time yet?
We will have to decide in the near future because Google says But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

b) Do we need this?
previously https was being used only by websites that made some transactions and had to deal with sensitive information like credit card and passwords etc. (most of our websites like online shops, and those that require registrations and login details etc are already using https)

Does your website fall in this category?

But now…. Google is warning us to be “safe and secured” at all 3 levels. (and changing to https helps with it)

  1. Encryption—encrypting the exchanged data to keep it secure from eavesdroppers. That means that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can “listen” to their conversations, track their activities across multiple pages, or steal their information.
  2. Data integrity—data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer, intentionally or otherwise, without being detected.
  3. Authentication—proves that your users communicate with the intended website. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and builds user trust, which translates into other business benefits.

So I can see Google is persuading us to go all in… with https

c) Error free transition:
So if we want to go ahead with this we have to ensure we do it right.
I sat through this whole video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBhZ6S0PFCY (and even with my minimal technical knowledge I can see that there is a huge possibility for technical errors.

Thus we should ensure that all the steps / tips and tricks are clearly understood by client and the tech guys so we can make the transition smoothly, test and confirm its all being done correctly.

Google has put together some “common errors” that we should avoid. – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6073543?hl=en

d) Costing factors: Clients should be made aware about all costs that will incur ….
estimated about £120 / year for the SSL certificate plus the developers may charge for testing etc.

Conclusion:

Google says that HTTPS is only a very lightweight signal at this time. That means that there are many other things that are much more important.

And obviously a bad website with https is not going to rank at all!

Thus its time to prioritize our efforts towards elements like the content of your web pages which is a very important factor. The keywords for which you want to get high rankings should appear in the right elements on your pages. Check Page speed and interlinking, duplicate content issues. Your web pages should also have good backlinks from other quality websites, have good social signal pointing to your website and invest some time in content marketing.

 

 

Author: Loveleen Fernandes Joao
Senior Project Manager
IdeasunlimitedDigital