Overnight, Google announced in a blog post an algorithm update with the potential to shape the future of the internet:
Https security is now a ranking factor
Google hopes the move will push developers of websites to implement technology that protects against hackers breaking into their websites and stealing sensitive information of users.
The update is the next in line of a series of strengthening ranking factors including security to speed and responsive design.
The introduction of new ranking factors suggests Google algorithms are now ready to expand beyond the traditional keywords, content and links factors to take a more wholistic approach of the web experience.
In the coming weeks, Google will release detailed notes to make the adoption of HTTPS and TLS easier. Until then they have released basic tips to help avoid common mistakes:
- Decide the kind of certificate required(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 Google’s 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 and avoid the noindex robots meta tag
Reports suggest that initially this change will effect less than 1% of total search results, however Google could decide to increase this across more and more SERPs as internet security becomes an even bigger issue in the mainstream media (such as Heartbleed).
What to do if you are already on HTTPS?
If your website is already serving on HTTPS, Google recommends testing your security level and configuration with the Qualys Lab tool.
How Can I set up HTTPS?
We recommend investigating a Google protocol called SPDY. While still in beta and only runs on SSL, it is the basis for HTTP2.
This also will have the added benefit of helping your page run faster. A number of notable companies have shifted towards this protocol including Google, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Tumblr and WordPress.
Worried about the impact of this algorithm update on your SEO? Drop us a line to get answers to your https questions