Google Makes HTTPS/SSL a Ranking Signal
Google announced this week that sites would now get a ranking boost for using HTTPS/SSL in a bid to promote online security. They made it clear that it’s “only a very lightweight signal” that would affect fewer than 1% of global queries, so this isn’t about to transform SERPs. However, they’ve said that this is mainly to give webmasters time to make the switch, and that over time they “may decide to strengthen it,” in order to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.” If you’re considering making the switch to HTTPS in the wake of this update, Google’s blog post announcing the change has tips and advice for adding HTTPS to your site that are definitely worth a look at.
‘Right to be Forgotten’ Hits Wikipedia Pages
The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, revealed this week that more than 50 links to Wikipedia pages have been removed from European search results following the EU’s ruling that people have a right to be forgotten, which in turn forced Google to de-index contentious pages. The organisation said that the only reason they knew that these pages had been de-indexed was because Google had informed them, but cautioned: “Search engines have no legal obligation to send such notices. Indeed, their ability to continue to do so may be in jeopardy.” As part of their opposition to the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ ruling, the Wikimedia Foundation has set up a dedicated page with details on every page that they discover is de-indexed from search engines.
Google Launches Google News Publisher Centre
As part of their improvements to the Google News service, Google has launched the Google News Publisher Centre to allow news publishers to better manage the way that Google News accesses and uses their content. The new system is currently only available to publishers in the U.S., but they intend to launch it elsewhere and add new features in the future. Check out the new functionality, available to every Google News publisher who has their site verified in Google Webmaster Tools:
- Update your news site details, including changing your site name and labeling your publication with any relevant source labels (e.g., “Blog”, “Satire” or “Opinion”)
- Update your section URLs when you change your site structure (e.g., when you add a new section such as http://example.com/2014commonwealthgames or http://example.com/elections2014)
- Label your sections with a specific topic (e.g., “Technology” or “Politics”)