If you haven’t transitioned your HTTP e-commerce site to a HTTPS, you have yet another reason to do so. Google announced it will begin to reward websites that feature the security measure in its search rankings. While Google said the advantage will be relatively minor and “high quality content” will still be much more important in determining search rankings, webmasters and SEOs would be wise to take any known advantage.
HTTP, which proceeds all domains online, stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. If you haven’t already guessed, the newly popular S stands for “Secure”. In short, the measure is used to encrypt activity between the browser and website, i.e. what you or your customers do on a site. While the changes make the web a far from perfect place, it makes it much safer from malicious attacks.
If you want to take advantage of the newly announced ranking signal, a great place to start is by checking out Google’s Best Practices for creating a secure site:
- Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
- 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
- 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
In its blog post on the subject, Google noted that it will release a more detailed guide the next few weeks.
Of course, with every change, proponents have voiced their comments. Some have complained the big security change will be costly to organizations and compromise website speed.