A couple of weeks ago, Google announced to use HTTPS as a ranking signal in their search algorithm. Google team declare that they are working to make web secure and wish to see every web site access from Google should be secure. To make sure this thing, they announce to give secure sites a boost in search rankings. After this announcement, webmasters and blog owners are considering to move their sites to HTTPS. After the NSA's spying leaks, there was a pressure on Google to maintain internet security so it may be the result of this pressure.
You might be worried about your site rankings after knowing this but calm down, it is not actually gonna push you completely back in rankings because it is not a single factor on which site rankings are decided. Multiple factors decide rankings of site in search results so focus on what you can do and do not worry about the things which you don't need indeed.
What Is HTTPS/SSL And How It Works?HTTPS is the abbreviation of Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure which is the secure version of HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol). Usually sites use HTTP protocol until they are made secured by linking an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Socket Security Layers which make a site secure to use by encrypting its information. When a site is linked to an SSL certificate, it uses HTTPS protocol instead of normal HTTP. The URL of a secure site in address bar will show HTTPS and a Padlock with sometimes Green Text is also visible in almost all browsers which make sure that the site is secure to use and the data sent by the site is encrypted. This makes user's information more secure which is to be sent over.
Why HTTPS Is Used?As I mentioned above, HTTPS makes a site secure and protects its users information. It is mostly used by big social media sites, E-commerce websites and sites which must ensure privacy of a user by making its data safe. It is also used by the sites which use log in. Actually the data which is sent over internet travels between many computers before reaching to required server. In this way, the users credentials can be hacked such as credit card numbers, username and passwords etc. HTTPS encrypts the information which is sent over these places thus making it secure from unauthorized people. In this way HTTPS and SSL ensure a site's security.
Will It Impact My Rankings?As Google announced it, it will surely give you a slight increase in rankings but don't completely rely on it because Google says, it will have only 1% impact on rankings. So you will not see a rocket boost in your rankings even if you make it secure. As only 10% websites from all over the internet use HTTPS protocol so it is not a matter to be worried if you are not already using SSL. It is among multiple SEO factors which help to improve rankings of a site such as quality content, solid presence on internet, social media optimization, site speed and much more.
It will not gonna to be alone rank deciding factor. A long ago, Google announced that site speed would also have impact on search engine rankings so the webmasters moved towards the tips to make their sites work faster but still most of the sites which have relatively slower speed appears first in rankings. This is due to quality content and other SEO factors. HTTPS isn't usually needed for the sites which don't require login, accept payments or contain private data. Blogs and informational sites have nothing to do with users data thus no competition might be predicted for this factor.
Now take an example how this factor will decide the rankings.
Suppose you own site A with quality content and all other SEO factors similar to site B. Your site uses SSL certificate while site B does not. If all things are similar except for SSL, then Google will prefer to place your site on first rank while site B on second. But as I have told earlier, no tough competition is predicted in near future for HTTPS so if you aren't already on SSL, don't rush towards it isn't actually requires for your site because basically it has to work with the encryption of site's confidential data. If your doesn't require users credential, why you are thinking to make it secure?
Security Limits Of SSL:So you might be thinking about security benefits of SSL and HTTPS. This is in fact a security factor but it is limited to encryption of users' credentials. It will not secure you from DDOS attacks and hacking attempts. If you are thinking from this point of view, then you must review before doing anything how to make your site secure from hackers and DDOS attacks. SSL has its own limit and it will not save your site but it only save your users.
Conclusion:It's better option to use HTTPS in your site if you can afford it because it is going to increase your rankings. Running an informational website or blog without requiring users credentials doesn't necessarily need HTTPS or SSL. However if you still want to use it you can use it.
If you are running any Ecommerce website and websites with active logins like forums, social media sites, which require payment information and others, then you must move your site over HTTPS. It is not only recommended but you must do it to keep your customers and users safe.
If you still have any doubts about HTTPS and SSL, you can ask me.