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HTTPS as a Google Ranking Factor: What You Need to Know

What is HTTPS and how does it affect your search rankings?See what Google has to say and what SEO strategies you need to know.

HTTPS encryption is not just an add-on to a website, it plays a big role in search rankings.

HTTPS makes it more secure for users to access websites, and Google places great emphasis on the added layer of security.

If there is any doubt about whether HTTPS is a ranking factor, this chapter will clarify everything.

Here's what you need to know about HTTPS and how it relates to search.

Disclaimer: HTTPS is a ranking factor

When a website is encrypted with HTTPS, it is said to get higher search rankings on HTTP websites.

One of the foundations of this claim is that Google rewards sites that provide a good user experience, and that enhanced security is a way to make a site better for users.

The claim also stems from the fact that Google's Chrome browser displays a warning before users visit non-HTTPS sites.This warning is enough to convince even the least SEO-savvy person that Google treats HTTPS differently.

Also, there are some claims about the strength of HTTPS ranking signals, which can vary from extreme to extreme.

We'll discuss all of these claims in the next section and find out the truth with Google's evidence.

Evidence: HTTPS as a ranking factor

Evidence of HTTPS as a ranking factor dates back to August 2014.

Google published a blog post announcing that HTTPS has become a signal for its search ranking algorithm.

"...Over the past few months, we've been conducting tests to consider whether sites use secure encrypted connections as signals in search ranking algorithms.We've seen positive results, so we started using HTTPS as a ranking signal.

When the update first rolled out, Google said HTTPS would be a "lightweight" ranking signal.

This seems to be the case to this day.Google's Gary Illyes said the idea of ​​boosting ranking signals had been discussed, but the team decided against it..

That doesn't mean site owners should treat HTTPS as anything less than a priority, though.Illyes suggested that the signal "affects enough queries measurably that I wouldn't ignore it.

HTTPS as a Ranking Factor: Our Verdict

HTTPS is a confirmed Google ranking factor.

HTTPS ranking signals are said to have little impact and are often referred to as "tiebreaker" signals.

This means that HTTPS can make a difference in ranking positions between two relatively equal websites.

Having said that, website owners shouldn't underestimate Google's appreciation for a good user experience.

Google takes HTTPS so seriously that it is an integral part of another ranking signal.Page experience signals take into account many UX factors, one of which is HTTPS.

In theory, websites can benefit from HTTPS and page experience ranking improvements.This converts a lightweight signal into a stronger signal.

While this is a confirmed ranking factor, keep in mind that HTTPS sites can still be overtaken by HTTP sites.

Relevance is key when it comes to search rankings.If the most relevant content for the query is on a non-HTTPS site, it may rank ahead of encrypted sites.

Even considering all the advantages of HTTPS, it is not a silver bullet.If a website ranks poorly to begin with, HTTPS won't fast track it to the first page on Google.

In other words: HTTPS is not everything in search rankings, but it is ultimately a factor.Best of all, Google recommends it.

Extended reading:

URL as a Google Ranking Factor: What You Need to Know

Is Domain History a Google Ranking Factor?

Is Domain Age a Google Ranking Factor?

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