Google announced yesterday that making your site secure may end up getting you rewarded with increased search engine rank. If you are willing to install SSL encryption and take your site from HTTP to HTTPS, it could definitely benefit your business in the long run.
The change is a minor one, and Google acknowledges that this will end up being a very minute ranking factor. With that being said, it is interesting that a relatively easy change in site architecture can end up being a potential rank booster for websites. Only a small percentage of search queries will be affected by this change, but it is more about internet browsing safety and customer experience than anything else.
If you website is primarily focused on e-commerce, this is a change that you should consider making sooner rather than later. Any website that deals with sensitive consumer contact or payment information should make sure that their website is completely safe and secure. It gives consumers peace of mind, it establishes you as a legitimate website, and now it may help you with SEO and online marketing.
This is a small change for Google, but it is interesting that web security is becoming a ranking factor. Websites that were suspected of having malware or being hacked have always been penalized by Google, but this change is the first example of the search engine rewarding proactive work by websites. It used to be that a website had to create good content and build links that were picked up by Google, and benefited the website after the fact. This change can give even a new website a slight leg up on the competition. If you are considering redoing your website or building a completely new one, make sure that it is secure and provides the best experience. Your customers and now Google will thank you for it!