One of the most commonly asked questions we hear at BXP Creative when talking about SEO is, “What’s the most important factor in getting a high ranking with Google?” That’s actually not an easy question to answer because of all the variables, particularly your present situation and the topics for which you want increased search engine visibility.
That being said, one of the easiest ways to boost your website’s search engine ranking is to switch to HTTPS. The “S” refers to a security and authentication protocol used on both browsers and servers, much safer than the older HTTP. This is done by installing an SSL certificate from an issuing authority to your host server and adjusting the links on your website. Many hosting providers will even throw in a free certificate when you purchase hosting, so you may have one collecting dust and not even know it!
The Top Ranked Sites are Making the Switch
Dr. Peter J. Meyers with Moz tracks search engine trends and reported that:
- During the summer of 2016, about 30% of the page 1 websites made the change
- By April, 2017, the number had jumped to over 50%
- Currently, of the top 20 subdomains Moz tracks, only a couple haven’t yet switched
Okay, so the big sites switched. What about smaller websites? Well, a different analysis of one million URLs with page 1 rankings found that smaller sites are also opting for increased security. About 33% of the sites ranked #1, #2 or #3 on the first SERP (search engine results page) have switched from the more vulnerable HTTP. We expect this percentage to increase.
Secure Browsing is a Ranking Factor
Google likes to keep everyone guessing, but they confirmed that HTTPS is a ranking factor, although they haven’t said how much this will impact search rankings. However, the above data indicates a clear link between increased website security and higher rankings.
Do You Want Users to See a “Not Secure” Warning?
The big dog of search engines is using their more-than-substantial influence to push hard for safer browsing. Chrome users will be seeing bright red “Not Secure” warnings when visiting sites using only HTTP. It’s probable that other browsers will follow suit.
Since people are generally becoming increasingly worried about internet security, more than a few will likely abandon websites when seeing this warning and go to a competitor’s site. Don’t let this happen to you when the fix is more than doable.
What Should Website Owners Do?
Make the switch from HTTP by installing an SSL certificate. It’s well worth doing. There are several benefits including:
- Boosted Google SERP rankings
- Increased safety and peace of mind for users
Let’s Encrypt, a service offered by The Internet Security Research Group, has made it their mission to promote a safer internet. They provide free SSL certificates to websites as a public service.
Whether you need a new website or an upgrade to your existing site, BXP Creative is committed to web security and optimization. Check out our SEO and other web services here, and contact us below for a free SEO site audit. We’ll review your website and make targeted, strategic recommendations for how to improve organic search presence as well as give you our thoughts on what’s working well and what could use improvement.