What Does It Mean?
Google has recently announced that having a secure site will become a ranking signal in their search algorithm (read the announcement here). If your site can load securely, it has a better chance of ranking higher in the search results.
How Important is It?
You should not expect any drastic changes in your search ranking, but it may help a marginal amount. Google will notice that your site has gone from http to http and you may experience a slight bump in rankings.
Making your site secure is a tedious process with many steps involved. Your resources are going to be better spent creating new content on your site rather than setting up your site as http. If you are developing a new site or switching hosting providers, it makes sense to go ahead and buy the SSL at the same time.
How do you make your site secure (http)?
To make your site secure, you will need an SSL certificate. I normally purchase SSL’s at GoDaddy. They have historically had the lowest prices on SSL’s and it really doesn’t matter much where you get one. Once you have purchased the SSL, you will need to work with your hosting provider (and/or your domain registrar) to setup and activate the SSL.
After having the SSL setup on your server for your domain, I recommend using the WordPress HTTPS (SSL) plugin. This plugin will help in actually making your site display as https.
We recently (today) activated all of our pages to serve as http after hearing this announcement. Previously, we only had our checkout pages serve securely. We will let you know if i makes a difference for us. Have you tried making your site secure?