August 2014 saw Google quietly updating its algorithms to put more value than ever into site security, particularly websites using the HTTPS system. Google is championing HTTPS as industry leading security’, although to date only around 25% of sites are using it.
HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, works by encrypting and decrypting information as it travels over a secure SSL connection from a site’s server to the user. This makes it a lot more difficult for users to be tracked.
Websites that use HTTPS receive a minor ranking boost in Google and employing this protocol yourself is as simple as purchasing an SSL certificate, now available from many online outlets at less than £10 a year small price to pay for an integral piece of website security.
SEO techniques of old differ from their modern day equivalents in a variety of ways. Gone are the days of filling every page with keywords and mercilessly duplicating content. These days, Google rightfully puts more stock in sites that prioritise user experience. That’s why content that actually reads properly ranks higher than nonsensically overstuffed copy, and that’s also why Google prefers websites that make an effort to put in place proper security. After all, the biggest search engine in the world has a reputation to maintain and they’d much prefer to send users to sites they can trust; so if your site can boast that any sensitive data is protected and that visitors will be secure, you’re onto a winner.
Although HTTPS has less impact on ranking than other factors, it’s still a feature that should be taken seriously. And it’s very likely that as time marches on, the influence of site security is only going to increase. Shell out for an SSL certificate now and reap the benefits of higher rankings later.