The Booster Seat Ep 3: HTTPS As A Ranking Signal

The Booster Seat Ep 3: HTTPS As A Ranking Signal

Well hey there Boosters! I’m Andrew Eagar.  Welcome to another edition of the Booster Seat.

Today, we’re going to be talking about security – specifically, the new security update Google released a couple weeks ago.

When we’re talking about security, we’re talking about “What Is HTTPS?”

What Is HTTPS?

Let’s talk about what HTTPS is.  First and foremost, it is complicated.  There are a lot of things about the internet that are unknown.  I’m going to simplify this and simply say, HTTPS is a way for Internet Users to communicate through a secure protocol.

How Does It Work?

Ranking With HTTPSLet’s talk about how it works.  First, it starts with the business and the website.  The website will then communicate with a certificate authority or CA.  When they communicate with the CA they’re basically saying, “I am a legitimate business.  I am who I am.”

Certificate Authorities (CA) are widely used online authorities that can then give that level of security and saying your website is certified.  They will give you a certificate which then your business will be able to  say you are certified and authenticated as a secure site.  This, of course, is all digital and exists within your website.

Step 1: We have the business communicating the CA.

Step 2: The CA will then give the authenticated business a certificate.

Step 3: The certificate encrypts information – passing it back and forth between the user and the server receiving that info.


Step 3 is a little bit of fun.  This is where we authenticate a hand-shake protocol.  Users that initiate the handshake protocol.  The user will communicate with the website by typing in the URL to say, “Hey, I want to view this page.”The website will then communicate back to the user and essentially say, “Alright, I want you to communicate to me through special communication patterns or through a secure certificate.  I want you to use this certificate to communicate with me.”

What this certificate then does is, it will encrypt data so the user – whenever he sends information to the website like a username, password, or anything like that – when he or she communicates, the communication will be with a certificate and it will be encrypted.  This means nobody can view it.  Not even the user can view his own data that he encrypted.  Only the website or the authority from the CA can encrypt the data and be able to read it. Then the handshake protocol will go on and go back and forth so that users and data can effectively communicate.

Simply put, that is how HTTPS works.

What Info Is Secure?

As briefly talked about before, we have usernames, passwords, and more importantly, we have credit card information, billing information, and addresses.  That is what is really secure here.

Does HTTPS Help Ranking?

Google announced a couple weeks ago that they will now give ranking bumps to websites with HTTPS or a secure server.  But, there is caution.  With the data we’ve seen and the analysis that we have done, there isn’t a whole lot of lift for people who join HTTPS.  In other words, don’t join the craze.  It isn’t something you really want to jump into too fast.  this is a very complicated process.  With the data we have seen, we haven’t seen a huge bump for those who have secure websites.

That’s it Boosters.  Stay cool!

– Andrew Eagar, Director of SEO Strategy

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Andrew Eagar
[email protected]

The Director of SEO Strategies for Boostability, Andrew is an internet marketing enthusiast with several years of SEO Experience. Helping small businesses find success online is passion of his, as is spending time with his family and watching Parks & Recreation reruns.