We have spent a lot of time looking at how Google ranks and returns out pages. The deference we pay to Google in order to increase our SEO gives them much broader influence than is at first obvious. Case in point, they recently announced that they will be adding HTTPS encryption as a (weak) signal in their algorithm. That is to say, they will favor sites connecting completely over HTTPS to those using HTTP. They say this affects fewer than 1% of all queries, but they also reserve the right to increase this “because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.” Whatever actually comes out of this move, it has already lit up the blogs, forums, and mailing lists.
Is this going to make us all start updating our servers to connect over HTTPS? Will they increase the weight to the point that we all see it as a “must have” in order to get our pages ranked? Is it really worth it (is it even a worthy goal?) in terms of administration and computing overhead if all we serve out is static HTML pages? However we answer any of these questions, we if nothing else can see Google’s influence even by the fact that we are asking them.