Google Incorporates Website Security into Organic Rankings: Performance Implications

Google’s most recent update will reward secured HTTPS sites (sites with SSL certificates that protect against data interception) with a slight increase in organic rankings. The search engine recently announced it will be incorporating website security as a ranking factor. The update is positioned around Google’s recent push to incentivize brands to create better user experiences—this time, around security. SSL encrypts user data, like credit card info, as it travels between a web browser and web server, making users more comfortable on ecommerce sites. Websites without secure pages may now lose search results page (SERP) visibility. https secure BEST PRACTICES for ADVERTISERS While this update is minimal and should impact less than 1 percent of global searches, brands should take it as a sign that secure sites appeal to users, and consequently appeal to Google’s algorithm. The current impact on organic rankings is slight, but Google has stated that HTTPS/SSL implementation will soon become a greater factor in SEO. SEO concerns aside, ecommerce brands should ensure that they’re doing all they can to protect customer information. If you haven’t already, you should consider setting up SSL on your site. This has been a best practice for years. However, any significant site change comes with risk. When switching to HTTPS, be sure to monitor traffic, rankings, conversions and other key performance indicators pre- and post-change for any performance impacts. Also keep in mind that if you’re serving ads on your own sites (e.g. you’re a publisher), some ad networks aren’t yet fully compatible with HTTPS. For instance, Google AdSense is compatible, but Google still recommends not using HTTPS unless you have good reason, as HTTPS ads won’t compete in the AdSense auction with HTTP ads, which still make up a large percentage of impressions. This could reduce your impressions/clicks, and consequently, reduce your ad revenue. Although Google is pushing brands to adopt HTTPS by rewarding them with better organic rankings, Google is still lagging itself with AdSense. However, this wrinkle doesn’t apply to traditional ecommerce sites, which are focused on driving paid/organic traffic and encouraging users to convert by creating safe shopping experiences. For more info on Google’s website security update or help implementing HTTPS/SSL, please contact your Performics Account Team today

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