HTTPS: A Secure Website is a Higher Ranking Website

Security is a top priority for Google. If you want to increase your website’s search engine rankings, then security should be a top priority for your website as well.

HTTPS Image

Google is usually very secretive about its search engine algorithms. You never know what to expect in SEO until Google’s already implemented a change.

Not this time. Google admits that using HTTPS increases the SEO rankings of a website:

“We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. 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.”

 

HTTPS Padlock ImageWhy is HTTPS so important to Google’s search engine rankings?

1. Google Love Website Security

It’s no shock that Google hates spam and loves security. Using a SSL certification (HTTPS) encryption on your website makes it more secure.

Changing your website address from http:// to https:// makes it more difficult for hackers and technology thugs to steal information. It also gives website visitors a sense of security when they use your website to submit their credit card number or fill out forms online.

2. Google Prefers HTTPS Encryption for SEO Rankings

Websites with using a SSL certificate for HTTPS encryption will rank higher (as long as they are using other white hat SEO strategies).

3. Users Loves Security and Users Could Impact Rankings

The more Google serves up secure websites, the more search engine users will be clicking those links. The increase in user activity to a link could increase search engine rankings for that link.

4. Make the Switch to HTTPS by Mid-2015

Google doesn’t give a deadline as to when HTTPS will trigger more then 1% of an increase in search engine rankings. However, they do say:

“We [want to] give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. 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.”

Since the original HTTPS change was implemented in August 2014, a good guideline would be to make the change to your website before August 2015.

5. Keep Your URLs in Check

One does not simply add a “s” to their URL and expect to comply with Google’s algorithm change. You will definitely need the help of both a SEO strategist and website developer to ensure that your 301 redirects are implemented correctly. Also, the SEO consultant will need to verify that all search engines are aware of the URL changes for higher search engine indexing.

One More Thing…

If not done correctly, changing to HTTPS could have damaging effects and kill your search engine rankings. This is not a simple flip of a switch, but rather a strategic plan that must be created before attempting this major URL change.

Ultimately, Google considers website security and encryption to be important to deserve an algorithm search engine ranking change.

Now is the time to make the necessary security changes to increase the safety of your website visitors and increase those search engine rankings.

Images courtesy of Code Carbon & Sastrugi.

Newsletter

Stand out with Human SEO

33 SEO Questions & Answers Guide

Sign up to receive my Newsletter and get a copy of my SEO Success Guide FREE!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Thanks for your useful article! I understand that for security of my website and SEO, it’s good to have HTTPS; but I’m not sure if I change the http to https, would I lose most or all of the website back links? Most of links from other important websites go to my Homepage (pr2). So what should I do to change http to https besides keeping the links? Also, I have a mobile website http://www.mywebsite/mobile besides my main desktop website. Do I have to buy two SSL certificates or just one certificate and it will apply for both websites?

    As you said:

    “You will definitely
    need the help of both a SEO strategist and website developer to ensure that your
    301 redirects are
    implemented correctly. Also, the SEO consultant will need to verify that all
    search engines are aware of the URL changes for higher search engine indexing.”

    Who will do the 301 redirects: SEO consultant or web developer?
    After the https project complete, how can I check it to make sure everything is OK?

    Thanks in advance for your answer!

    Cindy

    • Great questions, Cindy!

      You would not lose all of your backlinks, if you convert to HTTPS correctly. The links will be redirected permanently (301 redirect) to your new URL. Yes, you will see a slight dip in traffic, but then it will come back even better.

      I changed to HTTPS on my own website and it took 2 weeks for the search engines to understand what happened. However, after those 2 weeks, my traffic tripled.

      To answer your specific questions:

      1) You have to work with an experienced web developer to not only create a wildcard 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS (automatically redirecting all your URLs across the site), but you also need to work with a SEO consultant to ensure that the search engines are notified of this change. For example, one of my clients made the switch with my help but the web developer (vendor) didn’t make the changes I recommended. After 8 months, the website wasn’t being indexed fully – all because the client’s XML Sitemap was being updated with HTTP and not HTTPS. That one small thing had a huge impact.

      2) If your mobile URL is correct in your comment, then you are safe because the HTTPS is on your main domain. Your mobile website seems to be under a subfolder of the main domain. You would have had a problem if the URL would have been mobile.mywebsite.com. That would have been a separate domain, but you are safe and don’t have to buy 2 SSLs. 🙂

      3) The SEO consultant creates all the files and action list for your website developer to make the necessary changes. A quality SEO consultant is experienced in web development. Sadly, most web developers don’t have a clue about SEO.

      4) When the project is complete, the SEO consultant should provide you with all access to analytics and webmaster tools – as well as provide you with a detailed SEO report. Analytics will show that people are coming to the right pages. Webmaster tools will show that the search engines are indexing the right pages. The SEO report will show that you traffic flow, crawl errors, etc. It is crucial that you have access to all 3 areas.

      Wow! I think that should about cover the most important parts. If you ever want to discuss this further or need a little more consulting, feel free to schedule a call with me here: https://clarity.fm/shannonksteffen. I’d be happy to help.

      Irish smiles,
      Shannon