Earlier in the year, Matt Cutts stated that an SSL ?could? factor in Google?s ranking algorithm. Now, with the head of search spam on extended leave, is this actually happening and why now? Google has announced that going HTTPS - adding an SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site - will give you a minor ranking boost. Google Webmasters Tools have also been updated to better handle HTTPS sites. As of yet, the ranking benefit is only a small signal within the overall ranking algorithm. The change will purportedly only affect fewer than one percent of global queries - although still a considerable number. Factors such as high-quality content still carry more weight, although Google says they may decide to strengthen the signal. They expect this to ?encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS, to keep everyone safe on the web.? This is an announcement that has been met with some negativity among webmasters, many of whom believe this is an attempt by Google to shape the online climate, pushing sites to be made how they want, rather than how the owners or users want. Others are skeptical of the end-results. While HTTPS may make forms safer to complete, there are other methods of hacking users? information. SSL is far from commonplace, and many site owners are still ignorant of it or how to make the change. Meanwhile, based on tests over recent months, the HTTPS signal showed positive results in terms of relevancy and ranking in Google?s search results. SEO Concerns Will your SEO suffer? Possibly. The important thing is to make sure that Google knows you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS so that you don?t lose traffic. If you follow the proper steps, there shouldn?t be a problem; Google has been proclaiming it?s safe for years! More documentation will be available in the future - or so Google tells us. For now, G has the following tips: Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate Use 2048-bit key certificates Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains Don?t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag. Make sure the move is successful by adhering to the guidelines set out by Google, here. BHW what?s your view on this? Do you have secure sites that caught a ranking boost? How can you use this pearl of wisdom from G to help rank your sites? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.