Google Announces Encryption Will Boost Rankings in Search
For years, Google has been tasked with serving a majority of the world’s internet users with relevant and safe content. Hundreds upon hundreds of different metrics and algorithm changes have been provided and assessed in order to deliver on such promises, which has re-shaped how we view content creation, internet marketing, search engine optimization and more. Recently, Google announced that a variety of tests have been taking place, with the main goal being to determine whether website encryption should play a role in its ranking algorithms. The verdict is in: Google will now take this variable into account when ranking websites. Continue reading to find out more about this development.
The Beginnings of Change
Despite the fact that Google now says that encryption will matter in rankings, it will be a slow start at first. Less than one percent of all websites’ rankings will be impacted by this initial change. However, this is merely a “warning period” in which webmasters are given time to adjust to the reality that encryption will become the standard and will be required in order to maintain decent search engine rankings. Sites that continue pinging URLs to Google without HTTPS certificates will begin to see a slow but steady reduction in overall rankings in a variety of SERPs. Initially, Google says that these signals will be rather small; those with secure certificates will likely notice an increase in performance, while those without them may not notice any changes at all.
Help with Encryption Practices
Google understands that many webmasters may not be “in the know” about site encryption at first, which is why it intends to publish a best practices guide in order to assist webmasters and bloggers with the transition. What exactly it will advise webmasters and bloggers to do is yet unclear, but the acquisition of a secure certificate is relatively easy. Common referred to as SSL certificates, these can be purchased for roughly the same price annually as most domains (around $10 per year). Implementing the certificate via the domain is comparatively easy, and will ensure that all data being transmitted to and from the domain is being transmitted in a secure fashion. As Google continues to value and increase security for its users, this is a natural step for the search engine giant to take.
What You Can Do Now
While we wait to hear from Google on the best practices for site encryption, we can still take many proactive steps that are common steps when implementing site encryption. For starters, make the decision as to whether you will need secure certificates for a single domain, multiple domains or a wildcard certificate: there are solutions for all three of these scenarios. It is almost always recommended that you purchase a 2048-bit key certificate, which is the best value and security available (this should ensure proper compliance with Google for years to come). Be sure that you’re pinging URLs effective to and from the website by not blocking your HTTPS site from utilizing robots.txt and crawlers. Last but definitely not least, be sure that your pages can be indexed by search engines after the SSL certificate is deployed by eliminating any noindex meta tags.