The SEO (Search Engine Optimization) crowd has been abuzz lately with news that SSL Certificates are a new ranking signal in Google’s organic search results.
The announcement came from Google’s team at a new conference called “HTTPS” everywhere. They said that it’s a weak signal that they just introduced, but that it would likely increase in importance down the road.
Calm Down: it’s one of 200
The ranking signal is just 1 of 200 signals. I’ve never seen all 200 listed out at any one time, so I don’t really know what all these signals are. If you switchover to SSL encryption, don’t expect your website to suddenly jump 10 spots in search (wouldn’t that be nice though?).
How Much Do They Cost?
It depends on the type of SSL certificate you’re after. If you want a standard SSL certificate that works for one domain only, you can get one as cheap as $4.99. If you want to use one for multiple domains, then you need a UCC Certificate. This one is more expensive, but you can use this website to find coupons for both ssl and ucc certificates
Why is Google Doing This?
One main reason: The NSA. Now, SSL encryption only protects against a couple of security threats: phishing (website pretending to be what it isnt’) and eavesdropping. If all websites had SSL encryption, then the NSA isn’t able to eavesdrop on anything.
Google has added SSL encryption to search results, and has this secure layer built into their popular browser: Chrome.
That’s why SSL has been the bane of SEO’s for some years now: the extra encryption meant that Google no longer shared what website audiences were searching for when they visited your website. If you’ve been in Google analytics in the past year, you’ve noticed the “not provided” tab that accounts for almost all traffic. That’s because of SSL.
Essentially by pushing SSL, Google wants to create an inhospitable environment for NSA spying. There will be no data for them to collect, and then they will need to move on to other ventures.
When We Said “Buzz”, We Meant Tepid Interest:
There isn’t really any buzz in the SEO world because there aren’t many SEO’s anymore. After the Google updates targeted SEO’s instead of web-spammers (to be honest a lot of SEO’s used spam techniques as well), they were virtually all wiped out.
Google used to be able to make statements like these and get the SEO community all working for them: Google had an army of loyal followers that would do anything it said in exchange for a better ranking. But Google, like King Lear, had them all killed.