When Google first announced that HTTPS would be a ranking signal, a large number of webmasters jumped on the opportunity to get what was essentially a freebie boost in the search rankings simply by switching to HTTPS. Later, John Mueller from Google announced that it was a very small ranking signal, something that Gary Illyes from Google recently clarified as acting more as a tie-breaker in the search results when two sites would otherwise be ranked the same.
At SMX Advanced, Danny Sullivan asked Illyes about HTTPS and if we would see secure search having a larger impact at some point in the future. And the answer is yes.
Illyes said that HTTPS is super important and they do have plans to improve it and make it stronger, referring to secure search as “it’s my baby.”
He doesn’t go into detail about what could be changed to improve and strengthen it, so it could be simply making it a stronger ranking signal or there could be something changing in the signal itself. Likewise, we don’t know when we would see changes, or if Google would pre-announce changes as they did with the mobile friendly algo update.
The fact Illyes has been out of the office a lot traveling to events is one of the reasons why we haven’t seen any changes with secure search as a ranking signal.
SEOs once again might want to start thinking about switching their sites to secure again, as many stopped working on it once it became known the boost for secure sites was fairly miniscule. But with both Chrome and Firefox making changes or deprecations that would alert users to unsecure sites, switching over will become even more important for reasons completely outside of Google search.
Latest posts by Jennifer Slegg (see all)
- 2022 Update for Google Quality Rater Guidelines – Big YMYL Updates - August 1, 2022
- Google Quality Rater Guidelines: The Low Quality 2021 Update - October 19, 2021
- Rethinking Affiliate Sites With Google’s Product Review Update - April 23, 2021
- New Google Quality Rater Guidelines, Update Adds Emphasis on Needs Met - October 16, 2020
- Google Updates Experiment Statistics for Quality Raters - October 6, 2020
Michael Martinez says
And now that malware (which infects wireless routers and steals your encrypted passwords in their UNencrypted form) is out in the wild, all this HTTPS nonsense has been rendered moot, obsolete, and yesterday’s bad news. You cannot protect the Web with HTTPS. That false dream will only become more of a nightmare as more people buy into it.
Malcolm Slade says
Hi Jennifer, I’m in the UK so wasn’t able to attend the SMX Advanced sessions but was wondering if you had details of exactly what Gary Illyes said.
My concern is that “secure search” is much bigger than “HTTPS as a ranking signal” and unless he explicitly said “HTTPS will be given more prominence as a ranking factor” or similar we are at risk of jumping to conclusions.
Jennifer Slegg says
His exact wording was that he plans to improve it and make it stronger when asked if it will have a larger impact in the search results in the future. It was specifically about its signal in the search results. Unfortunately Danny didn’t ask him more detailed questions about it though.