Following the promotion of “HTTPS Everywhere” at Google I/O 2014, Google confirmed earlier this month that it is going to start using https as a ranking signal within search results. In one of its’ blogs it said Google said that it is trying to make sure “that websites people access from Google are secure.”
Some see this as a positive – a more secure site can only be a good thing, right? Others believe that Google are pressuring website owners to conform to what it believes to be best practice
In reality https is initially a very lightweight ranking signal, Google believe it will affect less than 1% of search queries globally and will carry less weight than other signals such as high-quality content, site speed and mobile design. However this ranking signal is set to change as existing websites are encouraged to change and new sites will be urged to use https as standard.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http) is the primary technology protocol which allows users to link and browse on the web.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (https) is another protocol, but uses Secure Sockets Layer (ssl). https encrypts the data flow between the client and server to create a secure and safe web for users. Basically, this makes it much harder for people to spy on your traffic.
In a nutshell this change means that any websites using secure and encrypted connections across their domains will benefit from Google’s new ranking.
Other search engine providers including Bing and Yahoo have also embraced the move to encrypting search results.
When you navigate to a site to purchase something and go to pay for it, either through a secure shopping cart or an outside payment system such as Paypal, you should see “https” in front of the URL address in your browser address bar which indicates that you are now in a “secure session.”
You will find that https appears in the address bar before the URL of more and more sites you visit, even when they are not ecommerce sites.
Ultimately this is good news for users on the web – sites using https encrypt the data between the browser and the site, so protecting the security and privacy of what a user chooses to do on that site.