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Search Engine

Security Header: The Usage and Its Effect on SEO

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Security headers are a part of web communication protocols used to enhance security and protect information transmitted between servers and clients. These security headers provide specific instructions and rules that browsers or web servers must follow when processing requests and responses. What is the impact on ranking? Here's the explanation!

Security headers are a set of rules used in web communication to enhance security. Is this a ranking factor? Find out the answer through this post.

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Disclaimer: We offer ad-free and organic news content to our readers.

Key Takeaways
  • In Google SEO Office Hours, John Mueller answered whether security headers are a ranking factor. 

  • Using security headers is a good idea to enhance site security, but it does not affect ranking. 

  • HSTS is one of the recommended security headers to improve security.

In SEO Office Hours, John Mueller from Google answered questions regarding security headers as a ranking factor. Website security has long been believed to be one of the ranking factors considered. So, what is the truth?

Before knowing Mueller's response, here is some general information as an introduction to the topic of security headers.


What are Security Headers?

Security headers are a set of rules and methods used in web communication to enhance security and protect against malicious attacks. There are several types of security headers, such as:

  • HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS): This header forces clients (web browsers) to use HTTPS connections when communicating with the server. HSTS can help prevent data eavesdropping or tampering during data transfer.
  • Content Security Policy (CSP): This header allows users to control which sources can be loaded on their web pages. CSP helps protect against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks and script injection attacks.
  • X-Content-Type-Options: This header can instruct the browser not to perform content-type sniffing from server responses, reducing the risk of XSS attacks.
  • X-Frame-Options: It is a header that controls how a web page can be loaded within <frame> or <iframe> elements. This header is added to help protect against clickjacking attacks.


Are Security Headers a Ranking Factor?

The most commonly used security header is HSTS. This header instructs users to access the site via HTTPS instead of HTTP. However, in a video shared by Google, it has been confirmed that HSTS does not have a direct impact on ranking.

More specifically, the question posed to John Mueller was as follows:

"Does integrating security headers like HSTS affect rankings?"

Mueller then answered, "No, the HSTS header doesn't affect search results. This header is used to tell users to directly access the HTTPS version and is typically used in conjunction with redirecting to the HTTPS version. Google uses a process called canonicalization to select the most appropriate page version to index and process, not relying on headers like those used for HSTS. However, using these headers is certainly good for users."

However, Google emphasizes that implementing HSTS can significantly enhance website security, indirectly contributing to improved rankings.

As known, Google considers various factors in determining rankings. Additionally, search engines prefer to display pages that guarantee user security. This is why security headers are a must-implement feature.


Best Practices for Enhancing Website Security

Since website security is crucial to maintain, here are some best practices to protect website security, thereby improving rankings:

1. Use HTTPS

Using the HTTPS protocol ensures that all data transmitted between the user's browser and the website server is encrypted. Thus, sensitive data can be protected from hackers attempting to steal information.


2. Migrate from HTTP to HTTPS

If your website is still using the HTTP protocol, it is advisable to switch to HTTPS. This process involves installing an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate on the server and properly configuring it to redirect traffic to the HTTPS version.


3. Use Strong SSL Certificates

Ensure to use SSL certificates issued by trusted certificate authorities and with strong encryption levels. Valid and robust SSL certificates will help ensure a secure connection between users and the server.


4. Implement Server-Side Redirects

To ensure automatic redirection of users to the HTTPS version, you need to implement redirects on the server side. This can be done through proper web server configuration to redirect HTTP requests to HTTPS.

That concludes the discussion on security headers and their impact on rankings as conveyed by John Mueller from Google.

Article Source:

As a dedicated news provider, we are committed to accuracy and reliability. We go the extra mile by including credible sources to support the data and information we present.

1. SEO Office Hours Video: 

2. cmlabs resource: 

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Tati Khumairoh

Tati Khumairoh

An experienced content writer who is eager in creating engaging and impactful written pieces across various industries. Using SEO approach to deliver high-quality content that captivates readers.

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