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Google recently released some interesting news. As part of their effort to promote improved online security they announced that ‘HTTPS’ sites (meaning, sites that have added a SSL 2048-bit key certificate) will see a rank increase.While ‘high-quality content’ is still the best way to rank high, competition is vast and stiff so every little bit helps. Google says that currently, the ‘SSL’ benefit is a “very lightweight signal,” but they “may decide to strengthen” the signal to incentivize business/site owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS because this small change will help keep businesses safe online.

There are a number of benefits associated with leveraging SSL certificates for your website, not the least of which is that they can help increase SEO rankings, which means more web traffic, more opportunities, and increased revenue. But will going ‘HTTPS’ impact your SEO efforts —should you be concerned? Not so much. Google has claimed for years that going ‘HTTPS’ is not a major issue for SEO. That’s not to say you can make this switch and that everything will fall into place on its own. You will need to follow protocol and take the appropriate steps to ensure that your site traffic doesn’t suffer. For example, be sure to let Google know that you’ve moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Google says it will provide more documentation going forward, but until then, here are a few tips:

  • Decide what kind of certificate you need for your business/site (single, multi-domain, or wildcard)
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out Google’s site move article for more guidelines on how to change your site’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.
  • Track your HTTP to HTTPS migration carefully

If you have any questions about this post please contact Safenames in the UK at +44 1908 200022 ([email protected]) or in the US at +1 703 574 5313 ([email protected]).