Ranking signal HTTPS: Google is monitoring actively

Written by: Endouble Endouble

In a previous SEO-blog about HTTPS I have advised you to migrate your recruitment website to HTTPS. On the one hand because your website processes sensitive data such as personal details and CV-documents, and on the other hand because Google made HTTPS a ranking factor. The impact until then was assumed small, and would probably become greater later on. That appears to be happening now.

Search Console warnings

Last week, a Search Console warning message concerning the SSL/TLS certificate was reported on Twitter (via: seroundtable.com author Barry Swartz). The notification was a warning of an error or a shortcoming in the certificate, which in some browsers is reason to flag the site as unsafe.

Google Search Console Warning - SEO Endouble

For example, in the address bar of Google Chrome, a yellow or red marker will appear over the HTTPS, instead of the green padlock or the validated identity. No disaster yet, but to a visitor of your site anything but reassuring. Much larger is the impact of splash pages that warn visitors of a security risk and lead them away from the site, to a safer environment.

HTTPS warning in adressbar - SEO Endouble

Strict control by Google no surprise

Google's stricter attitude towards SSL/TLS certificates is not entirely unexpected. The search engine has added additional requirements for the 'safe' predicate before: earlier this year, websites of several of our clients displayed a yellow warning triangle in the Google Chrome address bar. The certificates of these websites were valid and correct, but did not meet Google’s new (high) encryption standard (SHA-2).

Google Search Console Warning - SEO Endouble

Algorithm update expected

Google now warning actively, suggests that there might be an algorithm update in the air. Until now, having HTTPS (valid or not) in the URL was enough to qualify for the HTTPS ranking boost. In the near future, that will probably be limited to just the properly protected websites; Google’s next step in stimulating (read: forcing) a web-wide (high) security standard. We also expect this to have a greater impact on SEO-traffic, than the HTTPS algorithm had so far.

As usual with these updates, it is still somewhat unclear whether Google will roll out the change worldwide, or starts with US only.

HTTPS for your talent acquisition platform?

We have migrated the bulk of our existing websites to HTTPS. Although urgently advising you to choose a SSL/TLS when building a new talent acquisition platform, it is not a standard feature of our websites. The reason lies in the wide range of different SSL/TLS certificates, and their different pricing. The protection that suits your website best, is largely dependent on your type of business, choice of domain and website structure. Think of government versus corporates, subdomain versus top-level domain and the impact of multilingualism.

In desperate need of immediate advice on the best solution for your website? Please contact us.