SSL Certificates as a Google Ranking Factor

When it comes to ranking factors in search, Google still largely calls the shots. While Google doesn’t completely disclose all the details used in their search algorithms, they constantly put out updates on search ranking best practices that website owners and businesses should adhere to. One of those updates was how HTTPs encryption through SSL certificates is going to be a major ranking factor.

In other words, with no SSL certificate implemented in your website, you’re bound to see a drop in your visibility.

But why is Google pushing for websites, especially those in eCommerce, to implement HTTPs encryption effective immediately?

But first…

HTTPS and SSL defined

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS is short for Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure, which is the more secure iteration of HTTP. In the past, HTTPS is reserved mostly for websites that contain sensitive information, the likes include emails, financial websites that cater to online financial transactions, payment processing sites and eCommerce websites. HTTPS is used to secure transactions by encrypting sessions using digital SSL certificates. Secure websites are easily identified by looking for the “https” in the URL. This indicates that a website has a valid SSL certificate.

What is SSL?

SSL is short for Secure Socket Layer, a security protocol which utilises certificates to secure data transmitted over the Internet and ensure that information is encrypted.

We’ve all heard stories of users falling victim to scams, which has caused widespread skepticism among online shoppers and making it much more difficult for legitimate online marketers to do business online. But with a SSL certificate, online marketers and eCommerce websites can position themselves as safe and secure options that shoppers can rely on.

With SSL certificates, users’ information and privacy are better protected through HTTPS.

Security and better privacy are factors that Google has looked into to decide whether to include HTTPS/SSL certificates into their ranking factors, because Google has long advocated the use of stringent security measures on the Internet. With HTTPS in place on your website, Google views your site as a secure and private place online where users can safely transact and provide potentially sensitive information. And with that, your website could enjoy higher visibility in the search results.

Take note, however, that ranking boost applies only to pages protected by SSL certificates. It is important, therefore, to enable HTTPS encryption on all of your website’s pages.

Google recommends the following when securing your website with SSL certificates:

● Use 2048-bit key certificates.
● Allow search engine crawlers to access your website and remove the “no index”
● Allow robots to crawl your HTTPS pages
● Use protocol relative Universal Resource Locators (URLs) for all other domains
● Use relative URLs for resources which reside on the same secure domain
● Choose the type of certificate that you require: multi-domain, single, or wildcard certificate.

SSL Certificates as a Google Ranking Factor: Things You Need to Know was last modified: April 19th, 2016 by Sue Cooper
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