Many online marketers have already adapted their SEO tactics to Google Panda, Hummingbird and Pigeon, but now they may have to look at the security of their websites as well.
Google will now boost site rankings for sites with HTTPS addresses rather than HTTP addresses, according to an announcement at the I/O developers’ conference in June.
HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s used as a label for sites that encrypt their data between a user’s browser and the website, creating an extra layer of security for any actions performed on that site.
HTTPS translates to Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and is used to indicate when sites offer an additional layer of security through data encryption.
Google’s Webmaster Central blog explained that websites with HTTPS addresses perform better in it’s search ranking algorithms, so Google is placing secure sites higher in their search results.
At the moment, the update looks minimal, and will only affect about 1% of search queries worldwide. Google’s hope is that more sites will switch to HTTPS and secure the internet for it’s users, but a change like that won’t happen overnight.
It’s unlikely that your ranking will be severely impacted by the HTTPS update. It’s more often used as a tie-breaker if sites provide very similar information.
Sites that collect and store information from users like social media account details, credit card numbers and Paypal accounts are likely already secured, and if they aren’t, they should be.
Sites that feature user log-ins or password protection should also consider switching to HTTPS to protect user data. You should also upgrade to HTTPS if your site users are concerned about security. This contributes to a positive user experience in addition to improving your rankings.
However, websites that feature blogs, news, videos and other content that can be viewed without an account can usually operate well with an HTTP site, and SEO efforts should be redirected to more practical and influential tactics.
This update is Google’s way of trying to make the internet safer and more secure for users through its powerful ranking system. An update may not be needed now, but online marketers should plan for the future if the update becomes a more central focus.
“I think the future will definitely involve more encryption with websites. A lot of what Google does, the other major search engines tend to follow suit.,” says Scot Trollan, Director of SEO at On Top Visibility. “This will definitely help with security of the websites, as well as the privacy of user data. If securing your site will help SEO, its definitely something worth trying to implement.”