Virgo Web Design Blog

Google Now Giving Search Ranking Boost to HTTPS/SSL Secured Sites

Google Now Giving Search Ranking Boost to HTTPS/SSL Secured Sites

If you value your website’s search results on Google, you will likely want to take some action on your website to keep abreast of updates like this one. Google’s Webmaster Central blog recently announced that they will now be giving a minor boost in search ranking to websites that are secured with 2048-bit SSL.

Prior to this update, adding SSL to your website really only made sense if you’re handling data that should be encrypted (common examples are websites with user login/registration or e-commerce). Many websites that are already SSL adopters also only use encryption on sensitive pages, then forward to HTTPS when necessary. This practice is usually in place to help page load times, since sending everything over HTTPS is slightly more taxing on your page load times (not enough to be noticeable). Browsing  information over HTTP without accessing any sensitive data is certainly not unsafe, but making all your pages secure certainly won’t hurt things.

With this announcement, many webmasters (including yours truly), will start adopting SSL only moving forward, which I am sure hosting companies and SSL certification providers won’t mind. While the search ranking boost on Google will only be minor, affecting only 1% of global queries, they did indicate that future updates may strengthen the impact this will have on search results in the future.

Here’s some recommendations from Google’s post for moving over to HTTPS:

  • 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
  • Check out our Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • 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.

In addition to these tips, I also would like to add a few common issues with moving to HTTPS, and how to solve them:

  • If you’re unsure about how to add SSL to your website, your first call should be to your hosting company – unless you’re on unmanaged hosting, they should be able to get it installed for you.
  • SSL certificates can be acquired really cheap online (some as low as $10 or less a year). If you’re not handling sensitive data, there’s probably not a good reason to get an expensive one. Just make sure it’s a 2048-bit key. If you are handling data and have some liability, the more expensive certifications are worth the cost, if they provide a suitable warranty. Websites on shared hosting may be only to choose from SSL certificates provided by their hosting service.
  • Just installing the SSL certificate is not the only step! Make sure setup permanent re-directs from HTTP to HTTPS. If your website is on a content management system, there may be some plugins or built in functionality to accomplish this task for you.
  • Probably the biggest issue after taking all the mentioned steps with making your site secure is from external content, scripts, or images on your website. You may notice some or all pages on your website have a notice over your browser’s security icon stating that there is some unsecure content on the page. Accessing external links through HTTP will cause this, but it’s an easy fix. Just change that link to HTTPS and you’re good to go!

Hopefully securing your site won’t be too painful if you decide to make the change. It’s definitely advisable to do so; clearly Google is serious about making the web more secure, and the other search providers will likely follow their lead. 

Update: I just puchased and installed a new SSL certificate for Virgo Web Design! It took me about 15 minutes to install, and only cost $25 (expires in 5 years).

S

JoomlaDay Chicago is this Saturday!
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Tuesday, 23 July 2019

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  • As a marketing communications person who knew my company needed an up-to-date website built in Joomla, I was very happy we found [Virgo Web Design]. I understood things from a content perspective, but when it came to back-end design and architecture, my hands were tied. [Virgo Web Design] was so knowledgeable and easy to work with, and was always available to answer questions, make tweaks, walk me through front-end editing tasks...you name it. [Virgo Web Design]'s accessibility and can-do attitude made such a difference to our entire team, and I hope I always thanked [them] enough for helping me through the client-side part of the web redesign process.

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    I would definitely recommend Virgo Web Design as a go-to for all of your web design/development needs. I will definitely be using [them] again in the near future!"

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  • [Virgo Web Design] has developed and designed multiple websites for me over the years. [Their] team are exceptionally skilled technicians. Their communication is easy to understand, and they are very proficient - even when near-end deadlines are demanding. Hiring Jerry Virgo and his team is one of the best decisions I have made for my company.

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    Many of the other referrals came from Web design firms & had significantly higher overheads/billing rates...We had a tight timeline & [they were] very diligent at following up to avoid production delays at time when I was extremely busy. [They] did a nice all around job improving my SEO optimization, creating a polished final product, and documenting the back end with an easy to use manual.

    After the site when live, [they] stood by & helped me troubleshoot unanticipated events & helped me create work arounds.

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    City Tree Delivery

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5000 characters left

LATEST ON OUR BLOG

OUR YELP REVIEWS

  • Virgo Web Design recently completed my website MeetPeopleChicago.com. Jerry was easy to work with, was attentive to my questions and was on top of things from start to finish. In addition he was very knowledgable and up to date on the latest technologies. I am very pleased with the final product and I will surely use him again for future enhancements. Thank you Jerry for the great work you have done!

    PETER S.

    Meet People Chicago

  • As a marketing communications person who knew my company needed an up-to-date website built in Joomla, I was very happy we found [Virgo Web Design]. I understood things from a content perspective, but when it came to back-end design and architecture, my hands were tied. [Virgo Web Design] was so knowledgeable and easy to work with, and was always available to answer questions, make tweaks, walk me through front-end editing tasks...you name it. [Virgo Web Design]'s accessibility and can-do attitude made such a difference to our entire team, and I hope I always thanked [them] enough for helping me through the client-side part of the web redesign process.

    CORRIE M.

    Aptude

  • "[Virgo Web Design] did an amazing job on my non-profit's website, ghhaven.org. [They] put our site together quickly and with all of the elements we requested - plus, [they] had a lot of great recommendations for things that we hadn't even considered for the site. [They were] very helpful throughout the process of getting our site launched and I found [them] to be quick in responding to all of my questions/requests as well. [They] even helped us get our business emails set up!

    I would definitely recommend Virgo Web Design as a go-to for all of your web design/development needs. I will definitely be using [them] again in the near future!"

    FRITZIE S.

    Genesis Hopeful Haven

  • [Virgo Web Design] has developed and designed multiple websites for me over the years. [Their] team are exceptionally skilled technicians. Their communication is easy to understand, and they are very proficient - even when near-end deadlines are demanding. Hiring Jerry Virgo and his team is one of the best decisions I have made for my company.

    Michael W

    One Chicago Realty

  • I've used Yahoo sitebuilder for several years and my e-commerce website was due for an overhaul. I asked around & received several recommendations from friends & other small businesses.

    Many of the other referrals came from Web design firms & had significantly higher overheads/billing rates...We had a tight timeline & [they were] very diligent at following up to avoid production delays at time when I was extremely busy. [They] did a nice all around job improving my SEO optimization, creating a polished final product, and documenting the back end with an easy to use manual.

    After the site when live, [they] stood by & helped me troubleshoot unanticipated events & helped me create work arounds.

    Chris H.

    City Tree Delivery

  • [Virgo Web Design] knocked out a full rebuild of our site in a few weeks, guided us through things we didn't understand with ease and calm and gave great advice, training and follow up service

    Nicholle D.

    DANK Haus

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