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As revealed yesterday morning, google will now be considering SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) when ranking websites in their algorithm. The main reason why google has added an HTTPS ranking is to ensure higher security, with less breaches, and by doing so websites will gain credibility ultimately increasing the safety of the internet.  So what if you already use SSL verification on pages such as login screens or e-commerce check outs.  Unfortunately thats not enough. The change will be conditional upon all URL’s, all system files, and all includes going through an HTTPS layer.  And although you currently won’t notice a difference in your google rankings, as it is only affecting about 1% of websites, it is rumoured that the HTTPS ranking will be increased and is only set to a low priority in order to give web-masters the time they need to make the transition. So what does all this mean for SEO?  It means that your need to start taking SSL/HTTPS into consideration or risk seeing a drop in SEO rankings.

To get started with the SSL/HTTPS transition, google has provided us with a list of best practices.  The first thing you will want to do is decide what kind of certificate you need: single, multi, or wildcard, and then make sure that the certificate uses a 2048-bit key.  Next, you will want to make sure you use all relevant URL’s for resources that appear on the same domain and use protocol relative URL’s for all other domains. Lastly, don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robot.txt and always allow indexing of your web pages where ever you can.

Overall, this added security ranking may seem like a bit of a headache, but in the long run, it will help protect users against unwanted security breaches and make the internet safer place to explore.

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