At the end of last year, Google announced they were now going to index HTTPS pages before HTTP pages in search results. Previously, back in August 2014, Google announced they were starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal, but it was only in December 2015 that they announced that HTTPS pages will now be ranked above HTTP by default.
As there appear to be more and more threats to online security, Google are prioritising HTTPS web pages because of a longstanding commitment to security. In their own words, Google believe that,
‘Browsing the web should be a private experience between the user and the website, and must not be subject to eavesdropping, man-in-the-middle attacks, or data modification. This is why we’ve been strongly promoting HTTPS everywhere.’
What can your business do?
In order to continue to be ranked highly in search results, or even to improve existing rankings, all websites should transition to HTTPS by installing an SSL certificate.
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL certificate is a small data file that protects information inputted on your website by encrypting it. Contact details, credit card information, and other personal information that customers provide to your website can be intercepted and read by anyone if an SSL certificate isn’t installed on a website.
With a valid SSL certificate, information is kept secure so it can’t be read by anyone aside from the server that the information is being sent to.
Installing an SSL Certificate
Customers can clearly distinguish between websites that have SSL and those that don’t by a green padlock show in the address bar of a net browser. Those without an SSL Certificate won’t have a padlock in the browser, and instead will show an image of a globe or piece of paper, which will inform users that the connection is not secure.
While this may not currently be an issue for your business, as more consumers become aware of the importance of internet security and Google’s ranking boost continues to take effect, those without SSL certificate are likely to see a decrease in traffic and sales.