Google is Ranking Websites with SSL Certificates Higher

Published on 8/7/2014

Give a little boost to your search ranking with SSL. Google recently published an interesting blog post about SEO best practices on its Webmaster Central Blog, which they said that they will start ranking sites with SSL Certificates higher. Google is making this move because they believe in making the Internet a more secure place.

Google stated “Security is a top priority on the Internet. A big part of that is making sure that websites people access from Google are secure.”

Over the past few months Google has been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in their search ranking algorithms. So far they’ve seen positive results, which has led to this announcement about Google starting to factor HTTPS into their search ranking algorithm.

For now it's only a very lightweight signal — but over time, Google may decide to strengthen it, because Google would like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web. Google will be starting this initiative slowly so that website owners aren’t immediately punished for not having SSL on their site, but they could decide to increase the SSL weighting into search ranking over time.

Within the next few weeks, Google will publish best practices to help users make the right changes, and to avoid common mistakes. Here’s a few basic tips that Google provided to get started:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out this Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

As we learn more, we’ll definitely keep you informed on our blog -- if you don’t have SSL on your site, check out our Geotrust or Symantec SSL brands (we do have some great promotions running on EV).

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