https for SEO

Occasionally, we will design and build a website for a client for which the URL needs to be a secure https://, therefore it is worth looking at whether using https:// encryption is good for SEO.

The short answer is yes, it is good. In an announcement last year, Google stated that they would be rewarding websites using https encryption, but initially only on a small scale.

“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.”

It is however important to make sure you do the following, for a smooth move across to HTTPS encryption:

  • Canonicals: Make sure your canonical tags point to the https version of your website, rather than to the http version.
  • Relative Links: Make sure you either use relative links (to links that go to /your-page rather than http://www.your-site.com/your-page for example) or you link to the https version of your website.
  • Hreflang Tags: If you have multiple versions of your website in different languages and you use the hreflang tags in the header of each, be sure to use the https URLs of these websites. For example, <link rel=”alternate” href=”https://yourwebsite.com/” hreflang=”en-gb” />
  • Sitemap: Make sure you use the https version of your sitemap
  • Webmaster Tools: Link the https version of your website to webmaster tools, including the https sitemap.

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