The world’s largest search engine has announced plans to index secure HTTPS webpages before their HTTP counterpart.
Google and HTTPS Indexing
Google announced this change on its blog, saying it was adjusting its indexing system to identify HTTPS pages, adding that it would be crawling the HTTPS versions of HTTP pages regardless of whether or not the two are linked.
In other words, if your site links directly to standard HTTP URLs, Google will check to see if there’s an HTTPS equivalent, and if so, it will, choose that page index instead of the HTTP URL.
“…today we’d like to announce that we’re adjusting our indexing system to look for more HTTPS pages. Specifically, we’ll start crawling HTTPS equivalents of HTTP pages, even when the former are not linked to from any page,” wrote Google security team analyst on the Webmaster Central Blog.
So, why is Google changing its indexing algorithm to focus on HTTPS pages?
HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, which is a special type of protocol used to communicate with websites in a secure manner. Unlike its HTTP counterpart, HTTPS webpages and sites use encryption technology to prevent possible hijacking attempts. All websites utilizing this technology must have a SSL Certificate that enables encryption. Keep in mind, however, that HTTPS encryption does not protect against phishing and other manipulative schemes.
Google has been slowly shifting towards the use of HTTPS encryption, as it recently encrypted all Google searches, as well as Gmail accounts. And just last year, it announced encryption as a ranking signal. Although small and minor when compared to other ranking signal, encryption will give sites a slight boost in their Google search ranking.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that switching your website from HTTP to HTTPS will make it jump to the #1 position for its respective target keyword, but it’s just one of the hundreds of different ranking signals used by Google to determine where and how websites should rank.
HTTPS = Safer & More Secure for Users
Because HTTPS promotes a safer and more secure Internet, it’s likely that Google is trying to encourage webmasters to use this technology. After all, it’s in Google’s best interest to promote a secure environment in which users can browse websites without fear of having their data intercepted or stolen.
But if you’re going to use HTTPS encryption on your website, it’s important that you maintain a valid SSL Certificate. If the Certificate expires, users who attempt to access your website may see an error message instead of the actual page. Contact your web host for more information on how to set up HTTPS encryption.
What do you think of Google’s decision to crawl and index HTTPS pages first? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/meneamecomunicacions/
Google to Index HTTPS Pages First
Google just announced it will index the more secure HTTPS sites before HTTP, and will consider HTTPS a ranking signal for searches. Make sure you have a valid SSL certificate if you plan to use HTTPs.