INTERNET is the best medium for getting access to INFORMATION and most of the time its FREE! Though publishing information directly or indirectly involves cost; off-course it depends on kind of information you would like to share on Internet if its personal or professional. You can publish information with the help of Free to use blogs or create your own professional website.
Unlimited Information is available but all the available information is not searchable; thanks to Google that it spiders almost everything on Internet and bring you the information in most correct form.
But during the process Google started dictating TERMS (by way of Search Engine Submission Guideline or their official news) that involves more COST if publisher want their information been searchable (search-friendly) by Google; un-doubtably GOOGLE being the most widely used search engine no publisher would like to seek less attention or left out from Google's Search Algorithm!
I am referring to the announcement been made by google on their official news site https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html?m=1 about treating HTTPS as ranking (searching) signal on pretext of making INTERNET SAFE! announcement been made in August-2014 but we now started seeing its effect as all most one-third sites listed on first page of google search engine result page (SERP) use the HTTPS.
How accurate it is to say one-third of sites listed on first-page of google are HTTPS? It all depends on Industry you cater to but for simple test you can search keyword belonging to your Industry and see if other sites listed on google search pages starts with https:// instead of standard http:// if you see more than one-third its time to switch to HTTPS as your competitor's have already done so!
So far HTTPS switch is not forced but its your choice; understand What exactly it is ? Why its required ? How & Why it will affect search engine ranking & finally should you go for it or not?
What is HTTPS? HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet communication protocol that brings authenticity, integrity, and encryption of data been communicated between visitor's computer and website. Our Big Daddy Google dictates under their so-called best practice to start HTTPS and “Use robust security certificate & make sure to have a high level of security by choosing a 2048-bit key” by certificate authority which ensures / certifies your website address really belongs to you! Yes I support but it involves a cost per year and every year till you run your website!
Why its required? In simple terms it's for security of data while it gets transmitted from your site to client's browser; but with this article we are discussing it for search engine friendliness. Technically its encryption standard which protect man-in the-middle attacks & generate more trust in the minds of visitors. So far we have not used it as we treated our information is for public domain with no sensitive data which some one would like to attack.
How it works? It's basically a certification issued by authorised certification agency for a cost and encryption standard been implemented for your domain and address of site changes from HTTP://WWW.YOURSITE.COM TO HTTPS://WWW.YOURSITE.COM indicating your site been secured for transmitting data to site visitors. Theres few more tasks goes on server side but that's not the scope of this article for now.
Why it will affect search engine ranking? Announcement for which I shared link above this is what google indicated in the year August-2014 and they clearly write this :-
This means google clearly want sites to switch to HTTPS; They have given time from August-2014 and now you can see one-third of first page sites starts with HTTP: I will say quality content still is major signal; but lets assume there are 10 sites passing quality guidelines with same weightage out of which 7 are HTTPs: rest 3 are http: we might see HTTPS:// listed on top followed by the rest.
What should you do? It's not forced and purely a choice of yours if you understand the facts indicated above; if you ask me I will put it this way; there is no harm except yearly cost & the real and first benefits is security which generate more trust in minds of site visitors as your organisation been authorised by certification authority indirectly help generating business. At the same time slowly and gradually it will become major weightage for search engine friendliness. Cost can vary and some time it could be as low as Rs.400/= a month; Worth IT !
So we started article with SSL Certificate SECURITY or its an ADDITIONAL COST? I will say yes must for security and bit of additional cost to for search engine friendliness! If you fee cost is affordable and yes it is! GO FOR IT!