What does Google’s “HTTPS Everywhere” ranking change mean to your dealership?

Google says that you need a secure website

From keyword relevance and backlinks to social shares and web page loading time, Google uses its ranking signals to determine which web sites rise and which ones fall in the search results. Some signals carry more weight than others, and Google has good sites require HTTPS.

HTTPS Needs to Be Everywhere

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and is a communications protocol for secure communication over a computer network. Websites that use HTTPS transport data by means of the SSL/TSL protocol. These protocols encrypt data that is transported between a user and a website, and protect against common types of security breaches, such as man-in-the-middle attacks.

A number of years ago Google called for worldwide adoption of HTTPS as the new web protocol standard. The search giant has long been a supporter of HTTPS, which is implemented by default for Gmail and Google Docs. Since that time, Google now factors HTTPS into their search ranking algorithms.

HTTPS now plays a role in search rankings

A number of years ago, Google stated that “security is a top priority” for and while HTTPS was only a “lightweight” signal that affects less than 1% of queries, “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.”  Well, they did it.  HTTPS is a required part of a site configuration.

All major websites support HTTPS, from Facebook to Twitter, Paypal, Amazon, and all the OEMs.  So what is your dealership doing?  Do you have a secure HTTPS website so that your Google search ranking will be protected?

What Does HTTPS Everywhere Mean for Your Dealerership’s Search Rankings?

How seriously do you take your SEO? As a dealer, I expect that it is VERY important to you.

Let’s look at what happens when you run a standard security test on a website without HTTPS as an emulation of how Google might view non-HTTPS sites. At random, I picked a well known franchise dealer – which shall remain nameless – and first tried connecting with the HTTPS protocol. Firefox informed me that the certificate was untrusted, so I clicked the “Get me out of here!” button. I then did an SSL test using Qualys Labs’ SSL Test, a tool which runs a deep analysis of a site’s security. The news was not good. If this were your dealership’s site, you would have discovered that the certificate was untrusted, mismatched, and your site was using an old protocol, which is obsolete. Overall rating: “F.”

With the prioritization of HTTPS as a ranking signal, if your dealer website is not playing ball, then your site could rank could below a competitor that uses up-to-date security protocols.

Let’s look at what Google likes:

  • 2048-bit key encryption
  • Not blocking crawlers with robots.txt
  • Avoidance of the no index meta tag
  • Using relative URLs for resources on the same domain
  • Using protocol-relative URLs for other domains

Some companies may be concerned about performance, since encryption introduces additional computational costs. These, in turn, can affect the websites performance and usability, which adds an entirely new dimension to the problem. The widespread effort to increase web security is commendable, but how will it affect your dealership website and your ranking?

Fortunately, if you get a company that builds sites that make Google happy, you will not have any problems.  These sites should load quickly, be easy to use, and have clear sales funnels for lead gen.  No tricks.  No distractions.

My advice? Call at 954.507.6454 or send an email.  We specialize is Google optimized websites.

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