Google’s clever algorithms have always been good at prioritising one metric over another. When it comes to Adwords being displayed, Ads with ad extensions receive higher priority over Ads with a low quality score or landing page experience.
Similarly, websites adhering to SEO principles gain higher search status than those neglected from being ‘optimised for a search engine’. Now, Google have introduced a new metric to enable only safe websites to gain popular status on their page rankings.
HTTPS Versus HTTP
HTTP, short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, communicates to both web browsers and servers to fetch the relevant web page.
Google considers a well formulated website to have an SSL certificate, thus HTTPS in its web address link. For the time being, HTTPS websites will gain preference over HTTP websites, specifically when all other qualifying metrics are the same. HTTPS is the deciding factor over which website gains the higher ranking, further determining which page it appears.
Initially we thought the new HTTPS metric would be a small ranking factor, but recently we’ve noticed sites containing SSL certificates (safe encrypted links between the web server and browser) are ranking higher than without their certificate. Saying this, it is still difficult to prove that a secure website ranks higher than a non-secure site.
Although a secure certificate helps with rankings, it wont be long before Google permanently label all HTTP websites as ‘not safe’. So for now, Web Developers still have time to gain SSL certificates for each website that goes live, before Google Users become resistant to visit non safe sites.
How Will This Affect Web Browsers?
Ingeniously, Google’s own browser brand, Chrome, have already proposed to display a red X in the address bar when a HTTP site is accessed. An incorrect configuration in a website’s SSL certificate will equally earn a red X, flagging up to the webmaster to fix the SSL certificate, to enable the website to gain maximum user potential again.
Criteria to Gain SSL Certificate
To order an SSL certificate, you first need to create a piece of text (CSR or certificate signing request) on your web server, containing information on your domain and organisation name. The CSR is then submitted; note each SSL certificate requires a unique separate IP address.
There are two forms of validation that need to take place by the certificate authority-
Domain Validation: The WHOIS record needs the correct contact information, stating who owns the domain name and certificate, alongside their telephone number and email address.
Company validation: The SSL certification authority will also check the government database to see if your business organisation or company has been registered.
The time taken for a SSL certificate to be issued depends on the type of certificate being order. Domain validated certificates can be received and installed in minutes. Extended validation certificates, offering the highest form of protection on payment websites take days or weeks.
What Are Google Users Being Protected From?
Strictly, even a safe photo blog used for casual purposes, could receive the unsafe mark in Google Chrome without an SSL certificate. So what exactly is Google protecting its users from?
These new constraints act more as a web filter to ensure only safe and worthy sites are displayed or accessed. Unintentionally, increasing the challenging online competition between businesses.
Safeguarding data from unauthorised hackers, by encrypting sensitive and confidential data, such as consumers credit card information. SSL ensures authentication, so sensitive data is only sent to the correct server, not an illegal server.
How SSL Ensures Clients Receive Authenticate Results From SEO Providers
The SEO industry is a fairly new contribution to the existing web and design related industries and offers no formal recognitions or certifications. Search Engine Optimisation is an open platform which allows practitioners to monitor their own methods without being closely regulated by a standing body. SEO processes can be easily researched and applied by anyone, however it can be challenging for businesses to find a trustworthy SEO provider.
Businesses can be paying monthly invoices for an SEO service without any firm evidence of results. Alternatively, they could be paying a quick cost effective budget for a minimal service which produces instant results, but then later followed by penalties for deploying spam related keywords. The common sense approach for anyone considering the hire of an SEO professional would be to seek references from existing clients and evidence of consistent, high ranking results in search engines. Additionally, an SSL certificate installed on an SEO provider’s website authenticates how genuine their services are.