Google has a long history of infamous algorithm updates and search index changes. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a “major” algorithmic update (such as Google Panda and Google Penguin) that affects search results in significant ways.

For search engine marketers, knowing the dates of these Google updates can help explain changes in rankings and organic website traffic and ultimately improve search engine optimization.

In August 2014, Google launched their HTTPS ranking boost, where it would give sites that served up their pages on HTTPS a small ranking boost. And again more recently Gary Illyes, from Google who wrote the HTTPS ranking boost signal originally, reiterated in an interview with Search Engine Land the HTTPS signal is “basically looking at the first five characters in front of the URL, and if it’s HTTPS and it managed to get in the search results and it will get a boost.” So again this has been reconfirmed. Most website owners are not yet ahead of this. Currently you only commonly see a HTTPS attached to ecommerce sites and sites that handle sensitive information.

So what does this mean for regular website owners? It basically means that adding the HTTPS encryption will provide a “lightweight” rankings boost. It’s been stressed that this boost would start out small, but it has been implied it will increase. So it’s a good time to start thinking about upgrading your http to a https. As we all know there’s no harm in getting ahead of the competition where we can!