Google first started talking about this back in August 2014, stating at the time that it was going to be a “lightweight” ranking factor that they estimated would affect fewer than 1% of global queries.
In December 2015, Google announced that they would be adjusting their indexing to look for more https pages, looking for the https version of http pages without being told to. Additionally, Google says that if both http and https versions of a page exist, they will choose and index the https version, assuming it isn’t blocked.
Enabling HTTPS on your website requires the use of an SSL certificate. SSL certificates and HTTPS protocol encrypt the information sent and from your computer to the internet so that it can’t be intercepted and read by unknown parties.
Previously, these were mostly only purchased by people who collected sensitive information or processed payments directly on their website, in no small part due to the cost. But, starting in 2015, an organization called Let’s Encrypt began offering free SSL certificates in an effort to make the web more secure. Many hosting companies now offer Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate registration and installation in an easy to use interface on your control panel. Check with your hosting company to see if they offer this benefit. My preferred hosting company, Siteground announced that they spent some time over the holidays issuing “several hundred thousand” Let’s Encrpyt SSL certificates for all domains currently hosted on their servers, and will automatically issue them for new domains and accounts.
If your website isn’t using HTTPS, I can help. Get in touch so we can discuss options.