Recently, in August 2014 to be precise, Google made an announcement to the effect that it would be using SSL and HTTPS as a ranking signal in its search algorithm. However, it added that it would be a very weak signal and that it would only affect a very small section of the global queries. But with time, the search engine would consider making it stronger after giving webmasters enough time to switch to this secure protocol.
This announcement generated a lot of confusion in the SEO industry. Many people wondered what impact this might have on their websites. Of major concern especially is the group of website owners who own information websites. These websites do not need to secure any information because all they offer is publicly consumable information and no private data.
At the same time, there has been a concern over the extra cost of buying the encryption certificates, which now seems to be an imposed add-on. Some of the SSL certificates are not cheap. This added cost is therefore not a very welcome idea for most website owners.
Loss of SEO Gains
There is also the issue of migrating a website from HTTP to HTTPS. The concern here is that one might lose the SEO gains already have made. This might especially become if one errors while switching the website from the status to the SSL-secured status. Most website owners and especially owners of large websites are concerned that the costs involved in this switch may be phenomenal.
With all these highly valid concerns, you are left to wonder, is it really such a big concern, and is there such an urgent need to switch to HTTPS URLs to gain some SEO advantages?
No Need to Panic
Well, according to Google, and some leading authorities in the SEO industry like Searchmetrics, it need not be a scaring affair. In fact, you should not panic and start moving your site immediately. This new signal is not going to get your website penalized any time soon…at least not just yet. However, it would not hurt if you could start migrating your website to HTTPS because Google will not penalize you for this either. At the same time, the earlier you move your site, the easier the process because you will not have to deal with as much content as would happen if you wait till later.
On the same, you will be preparing yourself and positioning your website for the future just in case Google decides that now the SSL ranking signal is a major part of their ranking algorithm.
Monitor Your SEO
You may want to monitor your SEO efforts and even get guidance in the process by employing a tool like Paradox SEO. This is a new, yet a very simple, powerful tool that helps you get great value out of one SEO platform. It helps you test SEO on your website automatically and all you need to do is to follow some simple advice to rectify and improve your website’s SEO.