At the beginning of August Google announced on the Webmaster Central blog that they were experimenting with HTTPS as a ranking signal. This means websites using secure encryption may do better in the search result rankings.
So what is HTTPS?
HTTPS is an online security method for exchanging information across the Web. It uses several extra measures to protect data that is being transferred. With the common HTTP protocol, the data that browsers and web servers exchange is vulnerable to attacks and interception. HTTPS provides encryption, data integrity and authentication.
So what does this mean for search engine optimization?
Google has dubbed HTTPS a "lightweight signal" that is less important than numerous other ranking factors but admits it could become stronger over time.
You can read the full article here:
Does my website need HTTPS?
If your website engages in online transactions like an e-commerce store, or takes personal information from users, you should be using HTTPS. However, if your website is purely informational without any sensitive data, an HTTPS protocol may be unnecessary.
Can switching to HTTPS boost my rankings?
Since the announcement of the HTTPS ranking signal, website owners and search engine specialists have feared that not having an SSL certificate could harm Google rankings.
For now HTTPS is considered a "very lightweight signal" and only one of 200-plus factors that determine ranking. It may give you a tiny advantage but will not push you to the top of Google's search engine results.
If transitioning to HTTPS will be easy for you, or is important for your business (you have sensitive data being collected), then you should make the switch.
However, if switching over will be difficult, it may not be worth the trouble and there are certainly more effective SEO techniques to help boost your rankings.
For more information on how we might be able to help your website rank higher, contact us today.