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Google has announced that it will begin using HTTPS as a ranking signal. This is a welcome move because security is an increasing concern for internet sites and the effort to make the internet a safer place is one we all should share. Customers are concerned about things like security on the sites they use to make purchases, and every news item about changing your passwords again because of a new security breach keeps the concerns alive.

Right now, the use of HTTPS is what Google calls “a very lightweight signal” that affects fewer than 1% of global queries. But it’s clear that this will be part of what affects your search rankings in the future, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to their warning.

To directly quote Google’s basic tips to get started:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

If your site already uses HTTPS and you want to make sure your security level and configuration is adequate, use the Qualys Lab tool to see how it fares.  There’s also more information on web design and SEO at  http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/search-engine-optimization.php

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