Search engines over the past few years have paid increasing attention to the security of websites when indexing and ranking them. This means that more secure sites will be better indexed by Google and other search engines. Every owner or system administrator can get a secure SSL certificate to meet the updated search algorithm standards. In this article, we will describe how website security affects search engine rankings and how to make your website as secure as possible.
The History Of Website Security
Secure protocols for websites have existed for many years. But search engines began to take them into account when ranking and indexing sites in 2014. This means that a good secure website allows a site to get into the top search engine rankings if all other factors are consistent with it. However, most sites have only switched to secure protocols since 2016-2017. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time!
According to statistics, about 85% of search engine pages in 2021 have a secure protocol. This means that users’ data is well protected.
Why does this happen? Recently, cases of theft of users’ data from various web pages have become more frequent. Logins, passwords, names, and bank card data have become a full-fledged commodity. Therefore, search engines support only secure sites. In 2021, HTTP sites are marked as insecure. In some cases, users cannot open them at all.
Find out more about website security tips in a themed blog on the topic of promotion.
How Site Security Affects Indexing And Ranking
Google and other popular search engines do not provide detailed information on the impact of SSL certificates on website ranking. What we do know is that adding a security certificate does not instantly raise a site’s ranking in the search engine. It is probably not a separate ranking factor. However, unsecured websites quickly lose their positions in search engine rankings. Therefore, you should not delay in the process of implementing security certificates on your site if you want to avoid losing top positions in search results.
Activating encryption on data sites involves connecting SSL certificates to domains that provide a cryptographic connection to the server. They come in different types: multi-domain, group, and standard.
You need a special protocol to improve your rankings. Initially, all sites use HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and represents the virtual process of transferring information from a website to the visitor’s browser. HTTPS is a secure version of this protocol and assures Google that the information it indexes is safe for the searcher. The “S”, as you may have guessed, stands for “secure”.
To protect your site’s domain, you’ll need what’s called an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is needed to prevent scammers from intercepting personal information that users enter at your site. Personal data includes logins and passwords from accounts, bank card numbers, email addresses, and so on. This means an SSL certificate will be useful for websites of banks, payment systems, corporations, online stores, social networks, governmental organizations, online forums, and more.
An SSL certificate is advantageous for the site owner. With it, you will confirm that it is safe to enter personal data on the site and show that you care about your customers. If a person is worried that sensitive information will fall into the wrong hands, they will get additional guarantees.
You can read about the SEO risks of poor site security on the Fromdev blog.
How Do Security Protocols Work On Websites?
Many site owners do not understand how HTTPS works. Let’s look at a simple and straightforward example.
The customer places an order on your site. To pay for the product, they enter their credit card information. When the order is placed, the information is sent to your web server. At this stage, it can be intercepted by fraudsters.
If the site has an SSL certificate, a secure connection is established between the customer’s browser and the site. In this case, the browser first converts the card number into a random character set and only then sends it to the server. The message can be decrypted only with a special key that is stored on the server. If fraudsters intercept the information, they won’t know what it means.
Since January 2017, Google has started marking sites that don’t work with the HTTPS protocol as untrustworthy. This means that Google Chrome will mark sites without an SSL certificate. If the site has contact forms but does not have a certificate, or if the certificate is installed with an error, the word “Untrusted” will appear next to the page address. Sites that have a certificate installed will display the word “Trusted”.
How To Properly Convert Your Site To HTTPS
It is not enough to install an SSL certificate and wait until the site starts to climb in search results. With this approach, the site’s position can even get worse: the site will work over HTTP and HTTPS, and the search engine will think that these are two sites with the same content.
Follow a few recommendations to properly improve the security of your site and improve its ranking.
- Install SSL certificates with strong encryption. The level of encryption depends on the private key length. A 2048-bit key is considered the optimal length. As of January 1, 2014, all certificate authorities stopped issuing certificates with a private key shorter than 2048 bits.
- Use 301 redirects. There are two basic types of redirection: 301 и 302. A 301 redirect traffic to the destination page, while 302 keeps it for the current page. Therefore, set a 301 redirect to pages that work over HTTPS.
- Do not use the no-index meta tag. Search engines will not be able to index pages with such a tag.
- Use HSTS technology. This technology forces the browser to request pages over HTTPS, even if the user enters a site address with HTTP.
Don’t forget about other SEO tools to improve your site’s ranking. For example, you can improve google ranking with guest post backlinks.
HTTP-sites are losing their positions in the world’s top 10 search engines. So, shortly it is necessary to install SSL certificates on all sites, regardless of subject and commercial component. The developers of Google specifically made HTTPS connection a ranking factor to encourage people to protect their sites. The internet becomes safer with the new technology of security.