The InterNetX Blog provides you with news and background information on innovations concerning domains, servers, SSL and other industry-related topics.

Google says HTTPS is a ranking factor

The leading search engine will reward secure pages with better listings in search results. After a transition period, SSL encryption might become an even more important ranking factor. Google also gave some tips to help webmasters get started.

Google likes to play its cards close to its chest. When the search engine does disclose some details about its ranking factors, they carry a lot of weight. Not surprisingly, the news Google in its Webmaster Central Blog on Wednesday, caused a stir: Starting now, SSL-secured pages will be positively considered in the search results. Security is a top priority, wrote the Google employees Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes in their post. Google is already using HTTPS pages for its own products such as email or the cloud storage "Drive". And from now on the search engine will treat encryption as a positive ranking signal in external sites as well, according to the blog post. At first HTTPS will only be a minor factor among the many components that are considered when evaluating a website – and not comparable with key factors such as good content. This way Google wants to give site operators a transition period to set up encryption. But in the long term, the search engine will reward safety-conscious webmasters and gradually put more weight to websites using HTTPS in their address bar. For a website to run under a HTTPS address, it must be secured with a SSL certificate. Google gives site operators a few tips for getting started:
  • Webmaster should decide which certificates are appropriate for them.
  • It recommends using high quality certificates with the highest encryption possible.
  • When setting up the page, webmasters should make sure that the HTTPS sites are not blocked for crawlers.
Besides HTTPS, SSL-protected connections are made visible by a lock icon in the address bar of the browser. By clicking on the icon, the user can see the most important information about the issuer and the recipient of the certificate - for example, the company address. When using certificates with the highest standard, the browser bar additionally turns green. SSL is one of the most reliable means for protected data transmission. For safety-related online services such as online banking, webmail services or professional shops, the technology is now commonplace. Among other uses, SSL is also suitable to secure email traffic.