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How do SSL Certificates Affect SEO Rankings?

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Update! In 2017, Chrome began flagging all HTTP websites as not secure. This action accelerated HTTPS adoption across the Web. With over 90% of websites already encrypted, the SEO boost is no longer applicable. You can’t gain an edge when HTTPS is all but mandatory for everyone. Moreover, if you don’t use an SSL certificate, your site won’t appear in SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

Original Story

Starting in 2014, Google made it pretty clear that website security is one of their top priorities. All Google’s connections, such as Search, Analytics, Drive, or Gmail are encrypted by the HTTPS protocol. Besides providing secure services, Google always showed their interest in securing the Internet for its worldwide users. Google even created resources that prevent security breaches. After the “HTTPS everywhere” initiative, many companies follow their encouragement by switching to HTTPS. This is the moment when Google decided to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.

Even though it doesn’t surpass the high-quality content signal, those webmasters that switched to HTTPS still received better rankings on search engine results pages.  Although this self-ruling signal that works along with Google’s search algorithm is called a “very lightweight signal”, Google seems willing to strengthen this signal in order to encourage webmasters to make their sites more secure.

The SSL certificate empowers you with the trust seal. This is why you should consider migrating to the HTTPS. However, in your rush of switching from HTTP to HTTPS, do not forget to tell Google that you’ve made that move by following the best guidelines on site moving. The best tips for easier adoption of TLS and HTTPS protocol are the following:

  • Select the SSL certificate that best fits your needs;
  • Choose a 2048-bit key certificate;
  • Allow robots.txt to crawl your HTTPS website (Don’t block it);
  • Use relative URLs for resources from the same secure domain and protocol relative URLs for all the other domains;
  • Allow search engines to index your website’s pages. Try to avoid the meta tag “noindex robots” where possible.

Besides the ranking factor, buying SSL certificates will:

  • Prevent you from man-in-the-middle attacks;
  • Encrypt and check the integrity of your website’s data;
  • Increase your customers’ trust by displaying the company info.

Last but not least, keep in mind that Google applies the HTTPS ranking benefits only if all the pages of your website are SSL encrypted. So, keep tracking your migration carefully in your Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. Also, encryption may make your website slower if you lack server resources, so pay attention to them, too.

SSL certificates will definitely make your site safer and trustworthy! Browse our certificates here and choose the one that will bring you a higher ranking in Google.