posted in search engine optimization  on 7 August 2014
by Andrew Lang 
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Google's Tail Continues to Wag the Dog

Google have been acting as a de facto (and unelected) "government of webmasters" for a few years now, and their latest "law" shows just how much control they have over all webmasters who see Google as vital to their business (important point!).

HTTPS is now a ranking signal

Google have stated that indeed, HTTPS (SSL) is now seen as a ranking signal - in plain English (as plain as I can make it), it means that if you encrypt the data sent from (and between) your website's pages, Google will favour that site and give it a slight boost in the rankings.

Switching from HTTP to HTTPS is a non-trivial change a site has to go through, with downsides too:-
  • the site's server resources will receive a heavier workload
  • an SSL certificate can be bought cheaply (around £10 per year), but installing them will require someone to do it for you, and that might mean another £20 to £100 a year costs for your website depending on what such a person would charge. You'd also need to trust them as they'd have root access to the server hosting your site
  • you'd need to 301 redirect all your pages from HTTP to HTTPS
  • You'd lose all of your social network "counts" as Facebook, Twitter et al don't count 301 redirects
  • Page speeds will be slower due to encryption
The initial reaction from forums and social networks (see here) has understandably been negative.

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