Carlos A. Espitia

Chief Marketing Strategist at CAE Marketing & Consulting, Inc.
Carlos is a digital marketing consultant with 18 years of proven internet marketing experience, and a self-proclaimed "data nerd". His digital marketing agency, CAE Marketing & Consulting focuses on SEO & PPC management, as well as conversion rate optimization. In his (very little) spare time, Carlos enjoys spending time with his family, driving fast around race tracks, and honing in his marksmanship skills with his veteran friends.
Carlos A. Espitia

Back in August 2014, Google announced that they would start testing using secure websites (those designated by “HTTPS”, rather than just “HTTP”) as a ranking signal. How does one go about making their website “secure”?  Simple; you buy and install an SSL Certificate on your website. Below is a copy of Google’s official statement on this, thouth I personally think they’re being a bit coy by saying that the ranking factor HTTPS will give your website is very small.  The key words to pick up in their statement: “for now”.  I believe the SSL signal will be much heavier than they lead us to believe, specially in 2015 and on.


Google’s Official Statement on HTTPS

Security is a top priority for Google. We invest a lot in making sure that our services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default. That means that people using Search, Gmail and Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google. The key words to pick up in their statement are “for now”. I believe this will be a much stronger indicator in 2015 and moving forward.

Beyond our own stuff, we’re also working to make the Internet safer more broadly. A big part of that is making sure that websites people access from Google are secure. For instance, we have created resources to help webmasters prevent and fix security breacheson their sites.

We want to go even further. At Google I/O a few months ago, we called for “HTTPS everywhere” on the web.

We’ve also seen more and more webmasters adopting HTTPS (also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security), on their website, which is encouraging.

For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal—affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content—while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

In the coming weeks, we’ll publish detailed best practices (we’ll add a link to it from here) to make TLS adoption easier, and to avoid common mistakes. Here are some 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 website is already serving on HTTPS, you can test its security level and configuration with the Qualys Lab tool. If you are concerned about TLS and your site’s performance, have a look at Is TLS fast yet?. And of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to post in our Webmaster Help Forums.


SSL Should Be Part of Your SEO Solution

While building backlinks and testing on-page content for an SEO boost takes time.  However, getting an SSL Certificate is fast and easy and the SEO boost is quick. With Google making a push to encourage a safer Internet by giving an SEO ranking boost for sites using SSL, now is the time to buy an SSL Certificate for search rank boost.

Take advantage of an easy way to get your site above your competitors!

That Pretty Green or Blue Bar

How do you know you’re visiting a secure website? More importantly, how can you tell if your certificate was installed correctly?  Simple; your URL should now read HTTPS, and should have a stylish green or blue highlight over your domain, indicating to your visitors that your website is secured, verified and good to go!


SEO Concerns With Moving to HTTPS

Should you be concerned when switching from your HTTP to HTTPS site for SEO purposes? Not so much. Google has been telling webmasters it is safe to do so for years. But you need to take the proper steps to ensure your traffic doesn’t suffer. That means make sure to communicate to Google that you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Google promises to release more documentation in the future, but for now has provided the following tips:

  • 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
  • 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.


Google has also updated Google Webmaster Tools to better handle HTTPS sites and the reporting on them.

Lastly: You will want to make sure to track your HTTP to HTTPS migration carefully in your analytics software and within Google Webmaster Tools.


Which SSL Should I Buy for Google SEO Ranking Boost?

The big question in the mind of site owners, administrators, service providers, and SEO experts now, is: What SSL Certificate should I buy?

The Google search boost for using SSL applies to all sites, whether they have personal information or not. That means that even if your site doesn’t have a checkout page, login pages, or any financial or sensitive personal information, you can still get SEO benefits by installing an SSL Certificate on your site.


Not all SSL Certificates are the same

There are many different options for SSL Certificates; and though they all perform encryption to secure information, not all SSL Certificates are the same.

Single SSL Certificate: For Small Businesses, Blogs, and Personal Websites

Google has encouraged all sites to secure visitor information with SSL Certificates. That means that whether the Website collects personal information or not, Google will reward sites with SSL Certificates with a boost in search ranking. We got a small lift for a trade show displays company by adding an SSL certificate to their website.

A single-name SSL Certificate is the perfect solution for small business owners, bloggers, and for personal Websites. This type of certificate secures one domain, making sure that any information a user accesses on that Website remains totally private and secure from third parties.

Depending on your hosting provider, prices can range from $50 to $150

Multi-Domain SSL: For Service Providers, SEO companies, and Securing Multiple Domains

Larger Websites and online service providers often require more than just a single SSL Certificate to secure their Website. They may have multiple Websites, or have several different domains to secure. Service providers often secure customer Websites or run services for businesses and need to secure those portals for their own customers.

The multi-domain SSL Certificate—also called a SAN SSL Certificate or Unified Communications certificate—is the perfect solution for administrators or service providers with multiple Websites that need to be secured.

With a multi-domain SSL Certificate, administrators have the flexibility to mix and match the domain names being secured by quickly adding or removing names as needed. Multi-domain makes it easy to add a large number of client domains onto one certificate, making securing multiple Websites simple and easy. For example, with a multi-domain certificate you could secure:


Depending on your hosting provider, prices can range from $99 to $250


Wildcard SSL Certificate: For Large Websites or Securing Subdomains

Securing large Websites can often pose a challenge in the amount of time and money it costs to secure multiple subdomains for areas like forums, logins, portals, etc. Buying multiple SSL Certificates for each of these services and managing multiple certificates isn’t always cost effective.

A Wildcard certificate is a single-source solution for whole domain SSL security. With a Wildcard certificate, administrators specify which domain to secure (e.g. * and then can use that single certificate on their entire Website, regardless of whether they have one or 100 servers.

Administrators can quickly apply for one certificate and then use it on multiple subdomains like:


Depending on your hosting provider, prices can be upwards of $450 for this type of certificate


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