14 Sep

HTTPS / SSL Encryption – Do it for web security or Google Ranking Boost?

Google is working to make the internet safe and to take an initiative, they have adopted HTTPS encryption for their own main domain and sub-domains. It means, a secured connection is setup every time when accessing Google Search, Gmail and Google drive sub-domains.

After months of experiment in Search Ranking algorithms for the inclusion of https links, Google decided to consider https, a very lightweight signal for the minor ranking boost. Also Google mentioned that element would only have impact on “fewer than 1% of global search queries”. Although this signal is not given much weight compared to High Quality Content but as per the following phrase, they may give importance in future.

But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

On March 2014 in SMX West event, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, once expressed to include HTTPS as one of the ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. And Google had made it reality in less than five months of announcement.

HTTPS/SSL?

Full form for HTTPS is Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and SSL Stands for Secure Sockets Locket. HTTPs is the secure version of the http, while SSL is the protocol to provide secure connection between user and website. HTTPS is mostly used on E-commerce websites to make all safe transactions for online banking sites or checkout areas and also with registrations pages to secure the data.

When a visitor access HTTPS website, it undergoes encryption session with a Digital SSL Certificate, which helps stoppage of anyone other to interfere or access the data transfer. Well known browsers shows padlock icon and https:// in the address bar to show the visitors that website is secured by HTTPs.  There will be additional green address bar highlighting for the website owners with extended validation SSL certificates.

Benefits of https

  • Stoppage of man-in-the-middle attacks,
  • HTTPS could give ranking boost in search results
  • Total Privacy of User data like browsing history and credit card numbers.

Drawback

  • Page Load speed: There will be increase in page load time by adopting secured encryption for your site, as HTTPS requires one more communication between servers.
  • Redirection: Make sure to do proper http to https redirection and other canonicalization issues to avoid any keyword penalty.

Just a Tip:

1)      Google has incorporated the addition of HTTPs sites and reporting on them.

2)      There is no influence on rankings, depending on the type of certificate you use. For now. (Extended Validation, Organisation Validation or Domain Validation)

3)      You will notice the increase in “Direct Traffic” if your website is in “http” version. This is due to the traffic passes from a HTTPS site to a HTTP site, there is no idea from where it is coming from.

To get started with HTTPs, here are some of the basic tips as included in their blog:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need:
    • Single (www.website.com)
    • Multi-domain (www.website.com, www.subdomain.website.com, www.website.net)
    • Wildcard (www.website.com, www.subdomain1.website.com, www.subdomain2.website.com, etc.)
  • 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 our 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

Conclusion:

Going for HTTPS depends on the business, whether it is just informational or E-commerce. There has been increase in number of attacks from various malwares, Internet Fraud and session hijacking. This leads putting your business and reputation at risk. Nowadays, after suffering from various cybercrime, peoples are getting aware and doing online activities at secured and trusted websites.

At this point of time, instead of looking at the small weightage of ranking boost, website owners should be more careful to the security and trust. No Miracle going to happen for keyword ranking by https and Google is pushing for safety and more improved online security.