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Google To Give Secure HTTPS Sites A Ranking Boost
Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 6:06 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Just announced. Google's official blog post apparently hasn't gone live yet....

Google Starts Giving A Ranking Boost To Secure HTTPS/SSL Sites
Aug 7, 2014 at 12:45am ET by Barry Schwartz
[searchengineland.com...]

Google has announced... that going HTTPS -- adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site -- will give you a minor ranking boost.

Google says this gives websites a small ranking benefit, only counting as a "very lightweight signal" within the overall ranking algorithm.... Google says it has an impact on "fewer than 1% of global queries" but said they "may decide to strengthen" the signal because they want to "encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web."

Google has tested this and is reported to like what it sees. As I read the incomplete information currently available, using HTTPS is probably scored as a Panda-like quality signal. Not yet clear about why it should affect some queries and not others.

Two items that jumped out at me, among others, in Google's list of recommendations, that will likely need further discussion....

- Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
- Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains

I anticipate that this change is going to raise many questions in the community.

 

robzilla

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 6:56 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I anticipate that this change is going to raise many questions in the community.

And a lot of cash for certificate authorities. This'll be another craze like site speed. It's manipulation of the webmaster community, and I don't believe it's fair to judge every site based on HTTP vs HTTPS. People will be buying certificates just because it might help a teeny-tiny bit, when in fact their site does not warrant a secure connection.

The recommendation to use "protocol relative URLs for all other domains" is not necessarily good practice. Not all "other domains" support HTTPS, so linking to an unsecure www.example.com from a secure site as <a href="//www.example.com">Example.com</a> is going to break that link.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 7:16 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

- I have a couple of static html sites that really don't require https, will these gain rankings benefits from having https anyway?

- If I convert a site from http to https do I risk actually hurting my rankings with the new and slightly different urls? Switching from www to non-www and vice versa doesn't always work out so well!

- How about switching to all relative internal urls, or vice versa? Is the risk to current rankings worth the benefit of adding https?

In my opinion you should get secure if it makes sense for your site, Google rankings alone are not a good reason to make such a change.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 7:45 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Here's Google's official announcement...

HTTPS as a ranking signal
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]

It says essentially what Barry's article reports.

Mentat

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 8:39 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

My site is informative only, no login or personal/sensitive information, so why the hell do I need to use SSL?

I also use CDN for static resources, so more problems for SSL :(

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 9:04 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

It makes sense for some sites, but is completely unnecessary for others, and as long as WIndows XP is around it will exacerbate the shortage of IP4 addresses.

teokolo



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 9:14 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Mentat, I'm in the same situation.
I run some informative websites with no registration, no sensitive data, just a useless contact form.. Why should HTTPS be necessary?!?

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 9:29 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

They said it's going to affect less than 1% of global queries, so obviously they're not anticipating it would be applicable everywhere.

I'm wondering why they'd see an entire site in HTTPS as desirable. Also, though, I'm thinking that sites in https would prevent certain services some of us now use from collecting toolbar data.

I can see a lot of advantages, though, to things like https email.

CaptainSalad2



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 9:37 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Umm, hasn't Google just become a domain registrar? Do they per chance also do the 2048 bit certificates they now recommend?

What sorts of costs would a 2048 bit certificate cost for a single and multiple sites? Don't you also have to have a dedicated ip for a certificate? I don't know much about this area...

One things for sure, SEO just got more expensive!

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 10:16 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Not much more expensive: you can get free (and very cheap) certificates.

You need a dedicated IP if you want to support IE on Windows XP, otherwise you do not.

CaptainSalad2



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 10:38 am on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

graeme_p are they the 2048 bit certificate Google specifies though? Could you share a link to low cost 2048 bit certificates? im sure it would be helpful for many here (me 2)

CaptainSalad2



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 1:32 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

I wonder if this has ANYTHING to do with fighting spam? Surely spammers wont buy certificates for their churn and burn sites?

Links from non https sites could be trusted less also in future algo updates?

santapaws

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 1:34 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

how does this work? you have to redirect all existing links to the https? do you run http and https alongside each other?

CaptainSalad2



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 1:50 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

use htaccess or 301 every individual page from http to https counterpart! Very easy from a server side programming point of view if youíre a developer using PHP/ASP/ECT. I can see this will prove difficult for the wordpressers and bloggers who arenít technically minded!

A hell of allot of work for the guys who run static sites with no server side coding, but it might push these older webmasters to join the year 2000+ and get a proper CMS put in place! After careful thought this is a good move by Google IMO and will push the web forward!

travelin cat

WebmasterWorld Administrator travelin_cat us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 1:57 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Anyone else find it interesting that Google started offering 2048 bit encryption late last year?

mrengine



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 2:10 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

In my opinion, Google is laying the groundwork to make money selling security certificates. It was not that long ago that Google began issuing invites for their domain registration service. See [seroundtable.com...] for additional information. Most of the bigger registrars offer SSL certificates as an upsell (Godaddy, Verisign, etc.).

I think Google sees some money at the end of the road with this move and is using their dominance in search to push a standard that makes them some billions.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 2:35 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

If you were writing a news story about this, your headline could read "99% of Google search queries will be unaffected by HTTPS ranking boost."

In the overall scheme of things, it's not a big deal. Not yet, anyway. Down the line? Maybe.

philgames



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 2:39 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

great now I can buy all my ugg boots safely all because its https :)

Google could have made this all up and https doesn't give any boost whatsoever... and like other are saying using their power to make more money.

chicagohh

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 3:16 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Surely spammers wont buy certificates for their churn and burn sites?


It's all about ROI. If it's there they will buy the certs. A quick search for 'cheap ssl' shows that it's really not that expensive. It's just inflation.

superclown2

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 3:26 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's all about ROI. If it's there they will buy the certs. A quick search for 'cheap ssl' shows that it's really not that expensive. It's just inflation.


Ah, but will there be different levels? It would make sense. A certificate given by a trusted authority which investigated a company's bona fides could send a strong quality signal. At around £1000 a year with VAT it would cripple a lot of small sites though. Do we pay up? For some sites, definitely.

mrengine



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 3:31 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

If you were writing a news story about this, your headline could read "99% of Google search queries will be unaffected by HTTPS ranking boost."

Some of the headlines coming out put a different spin on things and will influence webmasters, SEOs and their clients differently. For example, PC World reports "Google Search starts penalizing websites that don't use encryption."

Although it may not be a big deal, whenever Google announces something it is a big deal because of their influence in the ecommerce industry. The hysteria is the direct result of their dominance.

CaptainSalad2



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 3:49 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

In my opinion, Google is laying the groundwork to make money selling security certificates.


Piffle, next you will be saying google used authorship in an attempt to salvage their dying social platform ;)

Seriously though I can see this being used as another BRAND signal! They say it's only a small ranking boost now but also say this maybe increased! Expensive certificates like the ones the big companies used could obviously be used as a clear signal between a company with money and a spammy site! I guess privacy is now king? ;)

A downer to consider, there go all them hard earned Facebook likes on the counter :(

I suggest people will want to get in this ASAP to start building up them social counts again, the longer you wait the more you will lose when you do switch over! And you will if you see someone with https a outrank you, let's be honest!

CaptainSalad2



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 4:00 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Something else to consider, can your server handle a 2048-bit certificate? (I would think most of us use decent servers?)

aristotle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 4:03 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google To Give Secure HTTPS Sites A Ranking Boost

Is there any reason to think that this will improve Google's overall search results?

What if a lot of big-time spammers start using https, but owners of most quality sites don't? Wouldn't this actually make the search results worse?

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 4:30 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Google is laying the groundwork to make money selling security certificates.


It's all about ROI.


No. It's about ad targeting, and who gets to profile you, and who doesn't. Mark my words.

dethfire

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 5:01 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

SSL certificate providers are salivating. They are gonna be stinking rich.

btw, this boost is likely trivial. we're talking it might increase your rank by .01 percent.

All google needs to do is make this announcement and people will switch even if it doesn't really help

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 6:00 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Surely spammers wont buy certificates for their churn and burn sites?


My host charges like $19/year for a 2048-bit certificate. They only sell to their hosting customers, however, and there is also a slight additional charge for a dedicated IP number. I have a bunch of sites, but it'd still only add up to a few hundred bucks. It's more the nuisance factor; all my clients are already in all-SSL, but never saw the use of putting my event sites into it, and if I decide to go that way it'll be a lot of work.

mromero

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 6:01 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

How would this affect webmasters using CDN?

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 6:03 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

Depends on the CDN. Best ask them.

robzilla

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4693628 posted 8:44 pm on Aug 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

And/or have a look at: https://istlsfastyet.com/#cdn-paas

SSL can either slow down or speed up a site, depending mostly on technical ability and the properties of the hosting platform (i.e. are you able to implement SPDY, OCSP stapling, session tickets, etc). In the end, with HTTP 2.0 coming, it's definitely the future, and we should probably celebrate that, but this announcement from Google is too summarily.

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