Google just announced that it will begin using HTTPS as a ranking signal. The extent of the impact is yet to be seen, but any time Google announces something, it’s probably a good idea to pay attention, seeing as Google owns nearly 70% of the search market.
Apparently, Google has been testing its algorithms to account for security strength of websites, and they saw “positive results,” whatever that means. Regardless, though, the gist of is pretty clear: Google is going to be placing more and more weight on the presence or absence of HTTPS usage when ranking sites. It isn’t every day that Google come out and spills the beans about its algorithms, so like we said earlier, it’d be smart to listen to them.
Well, if your website hosts user information (for example, an eCommerce website), then it should already be hosted over HTTPS to prevent hackers from having easy access to all of that info. If you’re like us, though, then your site might not have a ton (or any) user info, in which case it’s just hosted over an HTTP server. In order to remain competitive in search results going forward, and also to adhere to what’s quickly becoming a best practice on the web, there’s a good chance that you should switch your site to HTTPS. But, Google also revealed that HTTPS as a ranking factor is very lightly weighted currently but will likely be more important in the future, so it sounds like everyone has at least a little while before this is an absolute-must.
The jury’s also still out on exactly what the impact will be on SEO, though, and migrating a site fully to HTTPS can be fairly complicated as well as put a heavier load on your servers, which could potentially slow down your site. So with that in mind, our advice at this time would be to weigh the benefits and costs of encryption before just jumping straight into it.