Google has recently dropped a minor bombshell – they will now favor websites that use HTTPS encryption by boosting their search rankings to encourage all webmasters to follow suit. The move has been made with the hopes of pushing out attackers, scammers, and likes, overall, making the Internet safer and more secure for webmasters and users alike.
In essence, if a website has HTTPS in front of its URL, for example, https://www., it means it has used an SSL – Secure Socket Layer – which relies on certificates to ensure the web browser is encrypted, making it less accessible to hackers and any other security breaches. In simpler terms, it is a safe and secure way of coding a website. It is recommended that any website requiring webmasters and/or users to input passwords, banking details, and other personal details should use HTTPS anyway.
By favoring the websites which do use HTTPS-encrypted websites, Google is encouraging all other webmasters to make the shift. While they are not giving these websites a significant boost currently, they may do so in the future. In a bid to “keep everyone safe on the web,” Google hopes everyone will eventually use HTTPS and is giving webmasters the time to change over and has provided people with tips on how to do this. The tips are simple enough, and it seems the transition would indeed be smooth.
The tips are as follows:
- 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
- Check out our Site Move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’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 no index robots meta tag.
Of course, to ensure your website does not suffer and lose any traffic, it is probably best to follow Google’s steps and watch them closely. They have also said they will publish more information in the next few weeks to ensure webmasters have a smooth transition. Obviously, it is in every company’s best interest to rank highly in Google, so we will be interested to see how these changes progress over the next few months. We know we will be watching closely; what about you?