Google now includes website security as new ranking signal
It is a well-known fact that the Internet is not always the safest place for people looking to keep their computers or information secure. However, Google being one of the most popular websites in the world does its best to keep those who use it safe when browsing the Internet. Of course, Google cannot guarantee the security of the millions of sites it links to, but the search engine is now being updated to make using Google a more secure experience for everyone.
Google has always been widely considered to be a “safe” website. It already utilizes Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) systems, which makes it generally safe to use Google. However, the very point of Google is that it links its users to other websites, which may or may not be secure themselves. This is a large issue for people who use Google to find websites they are unfamiliar with. Being sent from a perfectly secure website to a more questionable one is something that a surprisingly large number of people don’t consider when they use the Internet, and this means that even though Google itself is a very safe website, using it does not necessarily translate to a secure internet experience for its users.
The solution to this issue is to modify Google ranking signals – or, at least, that’s the plan that the search engine’s webmasters have been testing for a few months now. The idea is to modify the algorithms that rank websites on Google searches to take into account how secure a website is. That means that, given a choice between 2 websites of equal value under already existing search protocol, the more secure website will automatically rank higher on the list. This includes website certificates, domain security, HTTPS and TLS, and other similar practices.
How this will affect you
While this is undoubtedly a very good thing for casual internet users, it may not necessarily bode quite as well for webmasters who naturally get nervous whenever Google search engines are updated. However, the practices needed to raise your standing on Google ranking signals are relatively easy, and are things that should arguably be in place for your site already. Google already provides tools to test the security level of websites, and has a few recommendations to stay on top of the new algorithms, such as using 2048-bit key certificates, allowing robots.txt on HTTPS sites, allowing search engine indexing, using relative URLs, and using their guidelines on site moving when changing a website address.
For those who pride themselves on their website security, this update will be a welcome change that could get their website ranking higher than before. For those whose website security is lacking somewhat, this will almost definitely hurt your website rankings. Fortunately, most people prefer to use secure websites anyway, so this is a natural and easy step to make your website just a little bit more popular and easier to find.