Search engine optimisation ranking factors have a new addition.

Google has officially announced that it will start to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.

Quick facts:

  • Httprather than the usual Http, shows that it is a website with secure certification.
  • To get the ‘S’ you need secure certification – which is SSL. (HTTP + SSL = HTTPS – are you following?)
  • SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. SSL establishes an encrypted link between your web server and your visitor’s web browser. This ensures that all data passed between the two remains private and secure. This is incredibly important if you’re passing sensitive information like credit card numbers.
  • Google search algorithm has changed as Google believes that in the long term, most websites should have SSL as it’s good for cyber security and the web as a whole.

What does it mean?

  • If you don’t have a secure certificate, you won’t necessarily see your rankings move down, however sites with SSL may have an advantage.
  • High quality content is still the leading factor in SEO – this is just one other part of the algorithm
  • Things ARE changing. How the address bar will look will change. Currently in Chrome, if you website is not secure it will look like this: 
  • But it could eventually look like this:  or this 
  • Which is a problem.
  • The changes will come into affect from October 24th and will impact searches using Google Chrome.

Should I do it?

  • Pros
    • It is a benefit to keep data transfer secure
    • Perception that you take your business seriously, if you have taken the time to get a SSL certificate
    • Future proofing further changes that may be made
    • Bowing down to the will of the Google God will inevitably help your SEO
  • Cons
    • Your site may look unprofessional
    • It costs – every year
    • SSL could put extra load on your server, slowing your site down – speed is also a SEO ranking factor
    • You will need to make additional changes
      • to your website – checking links, redirects
      • to your Google Webmaster, sitemap and robots file

How do I get a SSL Certificate? Contact your host or web developer. Keep in mind:

  • SSL costs vary, and they are an annual subscription
  • Understand what the renewal price is – the advertised price could be very cheap for a reason
  • Is there an installation cost? Or will it be done for free?

Not sure or want to chat about it? Want to change but need some advice?

Get in touch

Essential SSL