There is a rumbling coming from inside the walls of Google and the usual pundits regarding the next area on which SEO folks will have to concentrate their efforts.
For those who are tech minded you will be familiar with the little padlock that appears in your browser when you go shopping online or do your internet banking. The padlock icon and sometimes the change in colour of the toolbar tells you that the page you are on is secure, or that the page is encrypted in order to keep your personal information safe.
Google has said that “We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal!”
Safe and Secure
So what does this actually mean to you and me? What Google could be saying is that we should feel safe visiting any website, it therefore makes sense to utilise a facility that already exists https or to be correct ‘hypertext transfer protocol secure’ with the emphasis on SECURE.
On first hearing this news the eyes roll and begin to glaze but once you have considered the proposition it makes good sense and in real terms for a small additional annual cost, will bring greater peace of mind for your website.
The simplest way to achieve this secure environment for your website is to purchase an SSL certificate from your hosting company or via your web developer. There are various levels of certificates available depending on the type of encryption required and these will vary in cost.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer or to you and me blah, blah, blah! An SSL Certificate will provide peace of mind for those visiting your website and in the near future Google will be able to see that your website has one of these virtual certificates and rank your site accordingly. This will mean that you will have to renew your certificate annually.
By using this existing technology Google will be able to see when your SSL Certificate has expired and will no doubt alter your ranking to reflect this.
At this point Google have been testing this on about 1% of its search queries and therefore has made little impact on current rankings, we can’t imagine it will stay that way for long and the ‘Early Adopters’ will no doubt be buying their certificates as I write this. Like many changes the earlier you make them; the earlier you get ranked for them!
This will not detract from the other most important matters regarding your website, great content, fresh content, reliable information, useful information, captivating content and a website that actually has a reason to be on the internet!
I wouldn’t say “Rush out and buy your SSL Certificate,” rather form an orderly queue!