22 Mar 2014, 2 min read.
One question I get asked frequently about my job is, “How do you adjust to all the changes Google makes in its algorithm?” Google and Bing both make very regular updates to their algorithms and Google has said on several occasions that can make multiple algorithm changes any given day.
I don’t change my recommendations multiple times a day, but instead help to inform my clients about where search engine algorithms are heading long term. Any given project I recommend or help implement can take weeks to months of research, discussion and implementation time, so it would be counterproductive to recommend something today that would need to be removed shortly after based on a single algorithm update or change.
Search engines have always been targeting an ideal user experience. User experience standards fluctuate like the stock market, but overall, user experience has improved on the web and there are global themes and best practices websites can adopt to continuously enhance usability over time. This is where security comes in.
Security has been a concern for many years, but has recently received increased awareness and attention. There has been intense discussion over the security of the internet and user privacy especially in light of recent investigations and awareness of monitoring by the NSA. For example, a huge security flaw revealed in Apple’s encryption method for securing browsers on iPhone, iPad and on Mac OS X devices.
Edward Snowden also spoke at TED earlier this month, and recommended that all businesses add SSL encryption to every page of their websites. This goes above and beyond the previous standard of securing only shopping cart pages and other URLs where users would enter personally identifiable information.
Last year, Google rolled out SSL search to almost 100% of US searches and early this year started expanding SSL search throughout the rest of the world. Yahoo and Bing also have their own versions of SSL search.
There’s a pattern here. All the major search engines have created a way for users to secure their searches. Increased awareness and concern over how user data is being used on the internet has created a potential user desire to secure their experience browsing the internet. And, this past week, Matt Cutts spoke at SMX West and indicated that he would personally like to give a ranking boost to SSL enabled sites.
There is a growing market demand for secure browsing. I would recommend businesses discuss switching to SSL for all pages on their websites. This is a move that would require substantial effort on IT departments and an investment from businesses, but my prediction is that the internet is headed this direction. It may not be SSL specifically, but users will increasingly want secure browsing and this market need will eventually be satisfied by businesses. In the meantime, first movers may have a ranking advantage. It’s certainly worth consideration.