HTTPS: Is SSL a Ranking Factor?

Last week, Google announced that encrypting the data on your website through SSL will now give your site a small ranking boost. But is it an avenue worth exploring? Let's look at the facts.

SSL is an encryption protocol that allows for secure communication between parties over the internet. You can tell if a website is running SSL encryption by looking at the URL in your browser. If it starts with HTTPS, then it’s using SSL.

paypal SSL

Traditionally, SSL has only been necessary on websites that handle sensitive information such as credit card numbers or medical records. However, with this new announcement, it’s clear that Google is pushing to make the entire web a more secure place.

Does this mean you should rush to switch your site from HTTP to HTTPS? No. Well not just yet anyway. In Google’s own words, SSL encryption will be a “very lightweight signal” for the time being, but they do mention that they could increase the strength of it as a ranking factor down the road.

There will likely be an influx of companies offering SSL encryption as a way to boost rankings, but in reality, switching to SSL right now probably won't have a noticeable impact on your search performance.

Rather than rushing into the switch, you should develop a plan for moving to HTTPS sometime in the next year or so. Research your possible options for SSL support and select the one that best fits your business.

We recommend using CloudFlare who currently offers SSL support under their $20/month plan and will start offering it under their free plan in October of this year. If you'd like to get started with CloudFlare on your Pronto site, just send us a ticket and we can help you through the process.

Unless your site deals with highly-sensitive information, there's no need to rush into HTTPS immediately and there's no danger of being left behind or losing rankings if you wait. So, if you do eventually plan to make the switch, we suggest waiting a couple more months for CloudFlare to launch SSL support under their free plan.

Of course, if you have any questions about this, don't hesitate to contact us.

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