Internet security is of utmost importance these days. With high-profile security breaches occurring at companies such as Target, eBay, Neiman Marcus, Michaels and others, Consumers are more and more concerned about the security of the sensitive information they provide to retailers and other companies, trusting that companies’ websites will not be hacked and their information stolen.
Understanding consumers’ concern, Google ranks websites depending on their security.
Security is a top priority for Google, which understands that consumers will use its search engine as their primary source for browsing if they desire security. By ranking companies’ websites according to security, they will more than likely ensure that companies use SSL.
SSL is “is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral.” secure websites will have HTTPS – S for secure – in their address. As well, consumers can look for a padlock (in the upper right corner). If both S (as in HTTPS) and a padlock are present, it means the connection is both encrypted and secure.
Google explained the decision to use HTTPS as a ranking signal: “We’ve also seen more and more webmasters adopting HTTPS (also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security), on their website, which is encouraging. For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. . . we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
This does not mean that your website will not show up in Google’s search results if HTTPS is not used. It only means that, because of the lack of security that comes with using a non-SSL connection, Google’s results may rank you lower than your competitors. Since Google is the main search engine, it seems wise to use HTTPS.