Google Adds New Ranking Parameter: SSL Security

[Read the original article on Search Engine Land] Google announced this week that websites with SSL security certification will be somewhat favored in rankings. This is not a central parameter for determining rankings, so site owners shouldn’t expect dramatic shifts in rankings. For some time, Google has been trying to encourage websites to obtain SSL certification in order to protect visitors. At the most recent SMX West convention, head of Google’s Spam Unit Matt Cutts tweeted that he’d be happy to insert it into the algorithm as one of the parameters that determine ranking. Lo and behold, five months following the conference and while he is on extended vacation, Google indeed inserted it. To support this shift adequately, Google updated a number of features on Webmaster Tools. It’s important to emphasize that obtaining SSL security certificate should be done responsibly and correctly. Site owners should verify that they don’t currently block robots.txt and https scans, and verify that their Analytics tool is updated to track the new https address (instead of the http prefix you’ve had thus far).

Google Removes Author Tag Statistics Altogether from Webmaster Tools

[Read the original article on Search Engine Land] In late 2011, Google updated Webmaster Tools and added the option to view statistics on how many times the content uploaded by users who use author tag was shared on the web. This option was beneficial in that it showed us how many clicks and impressions our content racked up, across all platforms combined. This week, this option has been removed from Webmaster Tools: Google Webmaster Tools Stats Despite Google not issuing any official word regarding the removal of this option, most of us were not surprised in light of their recent announcement several weeks ago regarding significantly decreasing the size of the author’s image in search results.