Google announced back in August 2014 that it was to start using HTTPS as a ranking signal within its search results. Three months down the line and we now have enough data to be able to start drawing some of our own conclusions.
The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’ and websites which have HTTPS use secure and encrypted connections across their domains. Protecting the privacy and security of its users is an obvious benefit to Google, so it comes as no great surprise that the use of HTTPS carries positive weightings.
Analysis shows that HTTPS could already be making an impact as a positive signal which causes Google to promote websites in the natural search results. A growing trend has been tracked, showing that an increasing number of organisations have started using HTTPS over the last 12 months. Research also seems to suggest that for smaller sites, especially those in more regulated markets which would include financial and legal services, HTTPS has been shown to increase the chances of a website appearing in higher positions to similar non secure content.
Research completed specifically within the legal services sector suggest that Google is placing a greater emphasis on security in some sectors and content types. Some of the areas including Legal Business Services, Clinical Negligence, Personal Injury and Wills and Probate have show weighting towards secure protocols for results of firms that appear in the top three search engine positions.