Google announced this week that they are now counting whether your site uses a https secure connection as a ranking factor, and they say that it’s because security on the web is their top priority.
Personally I think this is a great move, because it will make more websites more secure, providing better peace of mind for customers, and broadly giving better protection to website owners.
At the moment Google say that having a https connection is only a ‘lightweight ranking factor’ which is effecting ~1% of global queries, but considering that they’ve publicly announced that this is definitely going to improve your ranking, I’m taking a wild guess that this ranking factor will be given more weight over time.
Of course, there are still hundreds of other ranking signals that Google take into account, and one of the biggest is original & quality content, but if adding a secure connection to your site moves you above your competitors on page one of the search results then it just might be worthwhile.
The problems most people will find is that adding security certificates is costly and quite technical and that for a while was true but nowadays most hosts will do this for you quite cheaply. A PositiveSSL certificate only costs ten bucks and your host should not charge you too much to install it.
I guess the proof we’ll need on exactly how ‘lightweight’ this signal is will be when we start reviewing the top 10 positions for all our keywords over the next few months and seeing how many of our competitors start to appear above us with https connections.
Google have said that they’ll be publishing some detailed best practices on implementing soon, and you can read more about their announcement here: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html