Finally, Google has come right out and told marketers something they can do that will give their websites a boost in their rankings. No beating around the bush, no ‘don’t abuse this,’ no anything. All you have to do to receive a ‘small ranking advantage’ is to have a secured website. For those that don’t know, if when you browse to your site it shows as “HTTPS” rather than just “HTTP,” it is secured.
While it’s not like you’re going to jump to the top spot on Google just for updating to a secured connection, every little advantage helps when it comes to SEO. In addition, with all the news about hacked sites and things like that, it just makes sense to have a little extra security.
Essentially, an HTTPS connection helps to prevent anyone from intercepting the data that goes from your website to your visitors and reading it unencrypted. With the security, the data is encrypted, making it FAR more difficult for hackers to read. Of course, a savvy hacker can figure it out, but for the vast majority of sites it wouldn’t be worth it for them.
For most websites, especially smaller ones, it is fairly simple to set up this type of security. Larger corporations, or sites where ecommerce is going on, you will want to buy a dedicated SSL certificate, but this has likely been done for years.
If your site is not yet using HTTPS, you can easily set it up following the how to guide published by PMI, found HERE. This walks you through setting up a free SSL certificate (almost certainly offered by your hosting company) and then making it so all users that come to your site will use a secured connection. It is a fairly simple process that anyone should be able to complete.
While some people argue that an HTTPS connection is slightly slower than an unsecured connection, it is only by fractions of a second, so it is not enough to justify leaving your site unsecured. Especially when you now get the SEO bump from Google.