Google made public last August and re-stated early this week that websites using https in their URLs will/may get a ranking boost if all other factors are equal. In a competitive niche with major brands competition for 1000’s of keywords it could mean the difference between positions 1, 2 and 3. For large enterprise level companies that have enormouse organic revenue channels, this can literally mean millions of dollars in additional revenues in the coming years as Google shifts its policy and focus to security and privacy of its users.
Here is the transcript of the statement made by Google’s Gary Illyes at SEL:
Personally, I think that if you operate a website where privacy and security is a concern and priority for your visitors (eg. An e-commerce website with transactional functionality), than you should consider migrating your entire website to https in the coming year, especially if you are in a competitive niche.
After all, Google wants you to keep the users they send you safe and secure. By implementing HTTPS via a secure SSL certificate, you ensure that any data that is sent to and from your website is encrypted, which includes the encription of credit card data, personal contact details …etc. Without this encription, the data can very easily be intercepted and read in plane language and used in the wrong ways.
It is not all that hard to migrate to https and just requires a well (pre)-planned action plan and proper follow-up monitoring to make sure all is going well and according to plan.
Here is the official Google guidelines for transferring, moving or migrating your website: https://support.google.com/webmasters/topic/6029673?hl=en
Make sure you have your website setup with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools (both free Google services) so you can monitor the migrations and also inform Google of the change in GWT once performed. Don’t forget to update your robots.txt, .htaccess file and XML sitemap files to include the correct rules and references to https URLS!
Here are some tips from Google:
– Consider whether you need a single, multi-domain, or wildcard SSL certificate.
– Only 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
– Read and use https://support.google.com/webmasters/topic/6029673?hl=en
– 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.