Google has announced that HTTPS is a new ranking signal in its SERP algorithm. Adding the “S” at the end of HTTP is a signal to the search engines (and to everyone else) that your website is secure with a 256 bit SSL encryption, and that you have verified its ownership. By adding a SSL Certificate to your website, you can now give your sites a little boost in the SERPs (search engine result pages).
Previously, adding a SSL Certificate and making your website secure with HTTPS was mostly done for those websites that had shopping carts, sensitive financial information, and private customer data, including login information. With adding HTTPS as a ranking signal there will be webmasters and SEO’ers who add a SSL Certificate for SEO and ranking purposes alone.
What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
HTTP is insecure and is subject to man-in-the-middle and eavesdropping attacks, which can let attackers gain access to website accounts [Logins] and sensitive information. HTTPS is designed to withstand such attacks and is considered secure against such attacks¹.
George Mueller, head of GoogleWebmasters, in a recent Google Hangout says, “Right now it is a light signal. We think it is a great idea to move over [to HTTPS], and over time it is something more and more websites will be doing.” He goes on to say that if you are revamping your website, or creating a new one, you want to certainly look at adding https moving forward.
SEOMaxiHost offers SSL Certificates for only $20 and will install the certificate on your domain for you. This alone is worth it, because it is a bit technical if you don’t know what you are doing. If you foresee that you have subdomains, you will want the Wildcard package.
It is important to point out that Google recommends that if you are migrating your URL from http to https that you also notify them inside your Google Webmasters account by submitting a Change of Address. Google also points out that that they are remaking their Change of Address tool, and that if it is not working, doing a simple 301 redirect from http to https will give them notification.
WordPress Users – Migrate HTTP To HTTPS
Inside your wordpress dashboard, go to Settings>General Settings, and change your wordpress url and site url to https. See the sample below:
If you do migrate an existing website from http to https, you need to understand that Google works from a per URL reference point. Thus, if some of your pages show a lock icon and some of your pages do not but give you a warning, this means that your pages that have a warning are not secure with https. This is normally do to the relative URLS inside your page or post. For example, if I have embedded and image onto my website, the URL of this image also needs to be changed to https. Same for videos.