Since Google has launched their HTTPs everywhere initiative, every webmaster is wondering does SSL certificate affect SEO really? This initiative has already become quite important for webmasters around the globe since it has been launched by Google itself. Back into 2014 in August, this initiative of Google was announced officially through their I/O conference. In this announcement, they stated that they are attempting trigger massive adoption of HTTPS to improve web security.
Https pages are crawled by default, 2015:
One year later in 2015, Google remarked HTTPS as a lightweight search signal stating that they want to increase online security awareness and also want to encourage major webmasters to attain SSL certificate. Server connections were secured and privacy was provided to web users in order to make it a safer place to transfer sensitive data. One thing is clear here, that HTTPS was receiving more attention of Google in that period. Keeping their intentions stable, Google has now allowed search engine crawlers to browse https pages by default. It is certain that SSL certificate does affect SEO. In their announcement, Google said that they are about to adjust search engine indexing systems so that Https pages are given more priority. They also mentioned that https pages would be crawled equivalent of https pages regardless the former being not linked from any pages.
Like never before, default tweaks have been made in algorithm of Google search engine optimizations so that https pages get a real boost. So the ultimate truth is that webmasters need to make sure that their website holds proper certificates of security to maintain their user experience and keep their previous search engine rankings. So the ultimate and quite short answer to “does SSL certificate affect SEO?” is YES.
What Google has to say upon moving to https?
Within two or maybe three years of announcement by Google, https now finds its place between most important search engine ranking and indexing factors. Since the year of 2016, webmasters consider it greatly important to acquiring a SSL certificate. John Mueller from Google stated that “SSL certification process might be a little bit longer and costlier sometime; however, ultimate stability would be established in World Wide Web once done”.
In order to move your website from http to https, one needs to make sure that he is working with a trusted SSL provider. There would be involved some extra charges so do not be surprised since you will be getting essential security for price you are paying. If someone considers it important keeping their customer’s information secured, SSL certification is not an issue but a simple step that will eventually improve their customer experience and protect their data and transactions. However, these extra charges were still issue for startup and smaller businesses. Google only advices them to take the step since there is value in the result they will achieve in future. The reality is simple that network integrity and security is important for both end users and owners of the website. Both of these parties are required to contribute in this initiative.
Points to consider while getting a SSL certificate:
If you are still reading, you might have a clear visual of how important SSL certification can be in order to maintain your websites SEO performance. Since you know the importance of SSL for SEO, you might as well want to know some important considerations you need to implement while getting a SSL certificate for your websites as suggest by Google:
- Work with trusted certificate authorities only:
Your website has potential harm from man in the middle type of attacks. In order to protect your visitors data from such attackers make sure to pick right certificate authority from the crowd. The certificate authority you are working with must be associated with legal regulations. There regulations are used to identify or indicate a website as a safe resource over World Wide Web.
- Type of Certificate:
There are three major types of SSL certificates:
- Single SSL certificate
- Multi-domain SSL certificate
- Wildcard Certificate
Don’t go out there and spend money on something you do not require. Understand your requirements and scope of your website to make decision regarding to SSL certificate type.
- 301 redirects:
You can point your regular visitors and search engines as well to your new https pages. This way you can retain the old search engine ranking your http page used to possess. 301 redirects are permanents so you will require setting them up only once. Sit back and relax once done, all your traffic would be redirected automatically in future.
- Using protocol relative URLs:
Relative protocols are one of the several methods that are used by professional webmasters for decreasing the risk of 404 page servings. These pages are much likely to encounter whenever a users lands on the URL in development environment.
If you are switching from http to https, consider switching your hosting as well. Transport it into a server that features support to HSTS that stands for http strict transport security. It does not have significant SEO advantages but it would definitely make the process more secure and risk free.
- Use Qualys SSL/TLS tools for testing converted/ moved pages:
Once you have acquired the SSL certificate and successfully moved all pages of your website to https from http, you can consider using above mentioned tool just to make sure that the process has been done in a proper manner.
This isn’t the whole process of shifting to https; just a few key steps that are essential in the process. Remember that getting SSL certificate is just a part of the entire process. Completing it alone would not provide any significant security to connections or SEO advantages for the pages. Once you have obtained the certificate from the right provider you can continue with setting up your pages to be https so that Google can index them properly.