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SSL certificates to provide Google ranking boosts

Simon Fryer
Simon is CandidSky's Search Director, with strong roots in organic SEO and analytics, and a disturbing passion for spreadsheets.

August 12, 2014

2 minute read

Google has recently announced that having a SSL 2048-bit key certificate in place on your site can give you a minor ranking boost in Google search results.

The search giant stated that website security is becoming one of their top priorities, and this announcement is expected to encourage more webmasters to help the web become more secure.

SSL certificates are small data files which bins a cryptographic key to a company’s details. This allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. For now having your site more secure with SSL certificates will be a lightweight ranking signal which will affect fewer than 1% of global queries. This will also carry less weight that other well-known signals. Google might also decide to strengthen the ranking signal to encourage all website owners to switch from http:// to https:// to keep everyone safe on the web.

Google have provided the following tips regarding SSL certificates:

  • 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 being crawled using robots.txt or the “noindex” meta robots tag

Should you go secure?

Yes, but it’s not absolutely essential. Having a SSL certificate in place gives users a level of comfort knowing that that if they wish to enter their bank details, address and any other sensitive information that their data is safe and secure. With the added benefit of minor rankings gains we’re likely to see many more sites transition to https://.

You can read reactions from the SEO community here. If you want further information on implementing an SSL certificate and managing a migration from HTTP to HTTPS, please get in contact with our search team.

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