Using SSL to Increase SEO

Bruce Morton

Google has indicated that it will use strong HTTPS as a signal in their search ranking algorithms. This means that websites should consider using SSL to increase search engine optimization (SEO).

Google recently invested in having their “services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default.” This gives the browser user a secure connection when using a Google service.

They state that it will only be a lightweight signal that will affect less than one percent of global queries. As websites move over to using SSL by default, they may decide to strengthen the weight of the signal.

Google also plans to publish detailed best practices in SSL adoption, such as:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol-relative URLs for all other domains
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

This approach encourages Always-On SSL. With Always-On SSL, the website would use HTTPS only, would deploy without making common errors, and would deploy with leading technology to securely support all end-users.

Website owners should consider supporting their site with SSL to stay ahead of the SEO game. You may think that it is only a lightweight signal, but it may be all you need to move you to the top of the search list.

Bruce Morton
Bruce Morton
Director, Certificate Technology & Standards

Bruce Morton has worked in the public key infrastructure and digital certificate industry for more than 15 years and has focused on SSL and other publicly trusted certificates since 2005. He has been an active member of the CA/Browser Forum that released guidelines for extended validation (EV) certificates and Baseline Requirements for SSL certificates. Bruce oversees the governance and compliance of Entrust’s publicly trusted PKI.

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