Securing the Web- Google to Prioritise Indexing Of HTTPS over HTTP URLs MORE Securing the Web- Google to Prioritise Indexing Of HTTPS over HTTP URLs Securing the web and why Google will prioritse https. Google has a commitment to secure the web and ensure that the search results displayed are credible and informative enough to serve the purpose. In this regard, it has included HTTPS web pages as a light-weight signal. What this means is when presented with two pages; HTTPS and HTTP, Google indexing algorithm will prioritise the HTTPS pages by default. According to Google, the goal in all this is to have web visitors land on web pages that have private connections. In early 2015, Google was requesting for assistance in identifying and indexing HTTP URLs but now it is able to singlehandedly find HTTPS URLs. Back in August 2014, HTTPS pages were given a ranking boost which according to SEO professionals was a pointer towards the latest move by Google. How the Prioritisation Works It has been overheard in other conversations that Google has put in place a ranking signal favouring HTTPS pages. This is not correct because no ranking priority has been given as yet, but what Google is trying to do is to index fewer HTTP pages when both HTTP and HTTPs version of the same page exists. The so-called ranking boost was slight and used as a tie-breaker meaning everything else remaining constant, a HTTPS page will have a competitive edge over a HTTP page. HTTPS reached an important milestone in June 2015 when Google made it public that all the top ten sites with the most search impressions were HTTPS. Inasmuch as correlation doesn’t always mean causation, HTTPS migration has come a long way and it is important to appreciate the increase search impressions thanks to HTTPS. A Website Address Bar HTTPs://www. Text In Black With Highlighted S Telling the Difference between HTTPS and HTTP Lots of people often get confused whenever they come across URLs with HTTP and HTTPS. This leads us to the question – what is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol which is a system for transmitting and receiving information across the server. Usually, the server refers to the machine where your website code is hosted and the client is your browser. HTTP is charged with managing the information interchange between the two divides. The reason Google is shifting preference from HTTP to HTTPS is because HTTP connections are not the safest because people can eavesdrop or even see your activity and this exposes you to lots of online threats. This is particularly the case with financial transactions or communication of sensitive information. HTTPS on the other hand refers to a HyperText Transfer Protocol with an added security protocol such as SSL or TLS. Every piece of information that is communicated over HTTPS is usually sent and received in encryption. This adds the element of safety. Whenever a client makes a server request, the server responds with a list of encryption methods. As the client connects to the server through HTTPS, the website will encrypt the session using a digital certificate. The Secure Socket Layer commonly referred to as SSL utilises a cryptographic system which encrypts the data using two keys that the client and server sent eac other to enable access to the information. Among the people who use HTTPS include banking institutions for their log-in pages as well as other applications where the data is required to be secured. While HTTP uses port 80 for communication, HTTPS uses port 443 and requires an SSL digital certificate. SEO Considerations When Shifting from HTTP to HTTPS Moving your website from HTTP connection to HTTPS is a laudable move but can be interpreted as a shift to a new URL structure or even a brand new domain. If the guidelines are not followed carefully, so much can go wrong. The following SEO considerations should be observed when migrating. You should make sure all your websites internal links and external links including social shares are pointing to the new HTTPS URLs. This will help Google decipher the authoritative page that requires prioritisation. The rel = canonical tags located within your website HTML structure should all point to the new HTTPS URLs. This will help make Googlebot understand the version of the page to be used for ranking. The new HTTPS URLs should be mapped on a page-to-page level. This means you will end up with a duplicate of the URL structure with the only thing changing being the HTTP:// to become HTTPS:// Lastly, to successfully move you site to the HTTPS platform without changing your SEO gains, you need to do a page level 301 redirect. Implementing a 301 redirect for everything to the homepage can kill all your rankings overnight. Always watch your Webmaster Tools account post go live and closely monitor any issues Google may have with your new HTTPS site. We are a professional SEO and web design and development company that can help turn your HTTP website to HTTPS while observing all the rules and regulations instituted by Google. Our experts understand the impact of site URL structures and will endevour to potion you at the right spot to capitalise on Google HTTPS prioritisation.