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What is https, and why should you care?

Whether or not you know what https is, an interesting piece of news floated down the SEO pipeline this week when Moz reported that half of Google’s Page 1 rankings begin with https.

Regardless of your level of awareness, you – or at least your company’s website and search engine rankings – could end up being affected by the move toward https.

So what is https? When you see those five little letters at the beginning of a web address instead of the plain “http,” that means the website is secured with extra coding. This additional level of security means that hackers can’t intercept the personal data entered by a visitor to that site.

Awareness of https began growing beyond typical online retailers like Amazon in late 2014 when Google announced that https would be included as a factor in its ranking algorithms.

We’ve been tracking the https development ever since. Our research shows that it’s basically a secondary factor, which is in line with the findings of other SEO experts. Https does not have the same influence as the content-related factors that help Pilot Fish clients rank so well on the search engines.

Our experience also is consistent with the Moz report. The growth in secure sites seems to be more of an issue of increased compliance on the part of website owners as opposed to increased enforcement on the part of Google.

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