Over time Google’s way of measuring SEO friendliness has changed several
times. The Panda, the Penguin, The Pirate, The Mobilegeddon – you name
it. To provide its users with an even better experience, including
online security – HTTP vs HTTPS – has been a trendy topic lately. For a
while Google’s own pages: Gmail, Google Search and YouTube have all been
HTTPS sites – and from now on, I think it’s time for you all to
consider changing to a secure connection.
Google has a goal: that browsing a webpage should be an experience only between the user and the website, and shouldn’t involve external parties. Therefore, Google announced that they strongly advise website owners to chose HTTPS instead of HTTP.
A while back, in August, Google said that they would give a bit of a ranking boost to HTTPS sites, and now the next step to a more secure web was taken: Google will start crawling the HTTPS page equivalents of HTTP pages by default.
In situations where two URLs from the same domain seem to be sharing content, but one is a HTTP Protocol, and the other one HTTPS, Google from now on will typically choose to index the secure URL, when:
- The page does not contain insecure dependencies
- The robot.txt file doe not block crawling of the URL
- The page does not contain redirects through or to an insecure web page
- The HTTPS URL does not have a rel=”canonical” link leading to an HTTP page
- The secure page does not contain a noindex robots meta tag
- The URL does not have any on-host outlinks leading to insecure URLs
- The URL sitemaps lists the HTTPS URL, or does not list the HTTP version of the URL
- The server has a valid TLS certificate
It is possible that other search engines may not be as quick to automate the process of serving the HTTPS version of your site and so it is suggested that you take action by implementing (or ask your hosting company to implement) the HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) header on your site’s web server and redirect the HTTP version of your site to your new HTTPs version.
Since Google is concerned about security and trying their best to keep their users safe, search results display whether a page is secure or not. You’ll find a “lock” icon in your Rank Tracker Dashboard whenever the HTTPS version of your page is in the top 500 search engine results for a tracked keyword.