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  1. #1
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Google is Ranking Websites with SSL Certificates Higher
    Second time this week I heard this. Is this an attempt to make information secure or an attempt to isolate search to Google so other search engines show significantly different search results?

    Give a little boost to your search ranking with SSL. Google recently published an interesting blog post about SEO best practices on its Webmaster Central Blog, which they said that they will start ranking sites with SSL Certificates higher. Google is making this move because they believe in making the Internet a more secure place.

    Google stated “Security is a top priority on the Internet. A big part of that is making sure that websites people access from Google are secure.”

    Over the past few months Google has been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in their search ranking algorithms. So far they’ve seen positive results, which has led to this announcement about Google starting to factor HTTPS into their search ranking algorithm.

    - See more at: Google is Ranking Websites with SSL Certificates Higher

  2. #2
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    That's pretty fascinating actually. I'm digging deeper into it myself. I am finding a lot of coverage on this on Symantec, Cloudflare, and domain registrar and web hosting sites already, not to mention all the different blogs and small tech news sites.

    Given that Google rarely gives SEO advice, there might/must be something in it for them in the long term, if this is indeed true. There's really no downside to having an SSL. There's a yearly cost but it's minimal, and having HTTPS can make one site stand apart from the pack too.


  3. #3
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    What it doesn't say is if the SSL cert should be on the entire site or just customer areas.

    A page on an SSL cert is slower than a page not on an SSL cert.

    As affiliates, we would need to push affiliate networks to serve their images on https to prevent browser warnings.

    Personally, if the Google wants to penalize sites (I believe they don't reward, only penalize - lowest penalty wins) for not having an SSL cert sitewide it's to weed out SERP spam. Spammers aren't going to spend the money for an SSL cert. - nor are most affiliates, for that matter...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  4. #4
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    Yeah, caching SSL content can be a real pain. And the browser warnings too... So far I have found recommended to put the SSL on all the web pages/all domains & sub-domains.

    I'm personally still trying to dredge up some technical details on what would be required, but also try to confirm if this is even 100% true. I'm inclined to believe it since all the major registrars are suddenly pushing it, but you never know.
    Last edited by Melanie; August 20th, 2014 at 02:15 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    It is definitely true, announced Aug 6 or 7. Not just any certificate will do, they want to push SSL 2048 bit encryption key certificates. The bump in rankings is temporary to encourage "compliance", but you can bet (and they say so, but not when) it will be a requirement. It so happens that Google's hosting offers these certificates, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with their decision. They claim it is out of concern for users' security, end-to-end and everywhere they send visitors, especially mobile users.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    So what would affs who use datafeed services with images/links or displaying banners from non-secure merchants have to do? This sounds rather impossible.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

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  8. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I spoke with the developer for a merchant I work with and he said they only have SSL on the cart and checkout. The cost to SSL the entire site would be prohibited to keep it at current page load times. They are taking a wait and see attitude with this.

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  10. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    Based on what I've read, right now the search value of the added SSL is less than 1% of global searches. In other words, the ranking value of an SSL ranks lower than simply having good, relevant, solid content. Unless the weight of the SSL in the rankings starts to go up, there's really not much point for a standard website to worry about it right now. Obviously anyone doing e-commerce should always have one, but a standard blog or information site probably doesn't need to get swept up in the frenzy at this point.

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  12. #9
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Having SSL installed throughout a site just seems a bit over the top reaction to security and as Chuck said, slow page load times. As if mobile users need slower page loads.

    "This is neither a logical nor a practical solution to website security." ~ Child, The Emperor's New Clothes
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  13. #10
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I can see three benefits for Google of doing this:

    1) It helps make the web more secure, as already mentioned.

    2) Currently, most web sites that have secure sections are legitimate businesses rather than spam or scam sites, so it's a good indicator of a good commercial site. Of course that can and will change as spammers try to game the system.

    3) I think it could provide addition tracking from the certificate headers, for Google to find associated sites, true ownership, etc.
    Michael Coley
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  15. #11
    Newbie ridgley's Avatar
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    IMO, not all websites will benefit on this. I strongly believe that the reason Google pushes this is to gain confident from the users. Many believe that Google did this in response to PRISM scandal wherein they were mention. This HTTPS site is great for social media and e-commerce sites, because of the sensitive information that user needs to give.

  16. #12
    Newbie Pandjarov's Avatar
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    Do you have any actual data from switching fully to https:// ? I really haven't noticed any signifficant change on any of my smaller sites yet.

    In addition to that, some CDN providers provide you with SSL. I am wondering whether people who utilize such certificates will get any benefit from it since it's issued on a completely different organisation than theirs.

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