Google is now Prioritising HTTPS over HTTP During its Indexing Process

Google searching for HTTPS over HTTP

Google has announced its indexing system will now be searching for and prioritising HTTPS versions of pages to display over standard HTTP pages, furthering their aim towards providing a more secure experience for web users.

On Thursday 17th December 2015, Google announced they would be modifying the way their search ranking systems function, so that they prioritise HTTPS pages and give them preferential treatment during the ranking process.

Google said “By showing users HTTPS pages in our search results, we’re hoping to decrease the risk for users to browse a website over an insecure connection and making themselves vulnerable to content injection attacks.”

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS (short for ‘Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure’) is the more secure version of HTTP, the protocol that data is transferred over between the website you are visiting and your web browser. Using HTTPS encrypts all the data being transferred, protecting confidential information from anyone trying to steal it.

Google have said they will index the HTTPS equivalent of a URL if these conditions are met:

  • It doesn’t contain insecure dependencies.
  • It isn’t blocked from crawling by robots.txt.
  • It doesn’t redirect users to or through an insecure HTTP page.
  • It doesn’t have a rel=”canonical” link to the HTTP page.
  • It doesn’t contain a noindex robots meta tag.
  • It doesn’t have on-host outlinks to HTTP URLs.
  • The sitemaps lists the HTTPS URL, or doesn’t list the HTTP version of the URL
  • The server has a valid TLS certificate.

What does this mean for us?

This means Google will now give preference to HTPPS versions of a webpage where possible, regardless of whether or not that version is actually linked to from anywhere else.

It’s not very often Google decides to share the secrets of their ranking system, with their basic premise being that if you create a good, well rounded website which attracts and engages users, the system will rank you more highly. For example, alterations such as making the site responsive, which improve overall user experience, are a big plus.

Over the past few years however, Google have made clear their move towards delivering a more security conscious experience for web users, with this latest move backing that up. When it comes to improving your ranking, there is no single thing you can do to jump to the top position. It’s the small points, such as making your website secure, which add together to get you there.

If you would like to have your website evaluated to see how it can be improved, feel free to contact us.

Ryan Sedgwick
Managing Director & Marketing Consultant at Impact Digital Markeitng
A Chartered Marketer, Ryan has gained extensive B2B and B2C marketing experience working across a broad spectrum of industries. Having graduated with a Masters in Marketing Communications from the University of Huddersfield, Ryan successfully utilises his skills and knowledge to effectively support businesses in getting the most from their marketing investments.