Going HTTPS, whereby you add a SSL 2048-bit key certificate to your site, will help you achieve a small boost in the search rankings, Google has claimed.
Less than five months ago, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, announced at SMX West that he wanted to alter Google’s algorithm in order to insert SSL as a cause for ranking. Now, Google is making it a reality.
HTTPS will give websites only a slight benefit in terms of ranking, the search giant has warned webmasters. Google says it will only count as a “very lightweight signal”. Basing the results on their own tests, Google says the change has an impact on “fewer than 1% of global enquiries”. However, Google went on to say that they “may decide to strengthen” the signal because they want to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
Google added that changing to HTTPS carries “less weight than other signals such as high quality content”, so webmasters must keep their eye on the content ball, and maintain fresh, vibrant content on their sites.
Google’s tests on the HTTPS signal over the past few months have shown “positive results” in terms of content relevancy and ranking within Google’s search results. Webmasters who are concerned about their SEO practices have nothing to worry about, as Google say that it is safe to change your site from HTTP to HTTPS and they have updated Google Webmaster Tools to handle HTTPS sites more efficiently. If you are considering the move, make sure you track the changes carefully in your analytic software and within Google Webmaster Tools.