In a rare move, Google announced at the start of August that they would be using HTTPS encryption as a positive ranking factor, in an attempt to encourage websites to become more secure. Currently this is only a small signal that can contribute to a higher ranking position, but Google says that this is likely to become a bigger factor in the future.
Google’s move is a significant one and part of a strategy to ensure that websites accessed from Google’s search results are secure. They have therefore provided this guidance and details to help webmasters prevent and fix security breaches on their sites, which can be seen here.
More webmasters have recently been adopting HTTPS (also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security), on their website, which is encouraging. Google wants to encourage more webmasters to do this however, by using HTTPS as a ranking signal, so that websites using secure, encrypted connections will see a benefit in the rankings.
Currently, this only affects fewer than 1% of global queries and is still less critical than other ranking factors, such as high-quality content, while webmasters are given time to switch to the secure protocol. Over time though, Google is very likely to strengthen the importance of https as a factor, as they want to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.
Google is beginning to publish detailed best practices in its help center to make TLS adoption easier, and here is a useful article on how to change your website’s address. Google is also very keen to see more websites using HTTPS in the future to make the web more secure, so the sooner webmasters make that transition, the more they will benefit from the inevitably increasing weight that will be put onto that by Google’s ranking algorithms.
If you’d like more information about how your website could benefit in the rankings from the transition to https, contact us now.