Since Google confirmed that secure websites leveraging SSL receive a slight boost in search results, webmasters and digital marketers have been scrambling to determine what this means for their sites. Before jumping to any conclusions or making significant changes, let’s take a moment to discuss what exactly changed in the Google algorithm. On August 6, Google announced they are “starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries.” Why are they making this change? In their announcement, two key reasons for this shift were presented. First of all, “security is a top priority for Google.” Therefore, they are “working to make the Internet safer more broadly” with this algorithm change. Secondly, through testing encrypted connections as a ranking signal they have seen “positive results” (meaning the quality of search results have improved when this ranking factor is used).
Even in light of these revelations from Google, we do not recommend that all sites install SSL and serve their webpages on Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). Installing SSL on a website is a significant undertaking both technically and financially. Therefore, each business needs to evaluate its situation and weigh the costs versus the benefits. Currently, the SEO benefits of installing SSL are minimal so in many situations it is not recommended that a business move the site to HTTPS.
In the case that a site is passing financial or personally identifiable information, it is best practice and in many situations required that pages where this information is submitted or transferred be served on HTTPS. So for clients passing this information, installing SSL is something that must be accomplished.
Linkmedia 360 will continue to monitor developments in the SEO benefits of serving a website on HTTPS to ensure we can make the most advantageous website recommendations for clients now and in the future.
At Linkmedia 360, we pride ourselves on the expertise we provide and calculated execution of our full array of digital marketing services. Our team will be happy to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the jump to HTTPS/SSL is right for your business. Contact us today!