When Google first announced HTTPS as a ranking signal, many webmasters rushed to get their sites secure. John Mueller later clarified that webmasters shouldn’t expect a visible ranking change in the search results as the ranking effect was “very small and very subtle.”
Gary Illyes at SMX Sydney on Thursday clarified HTTPS as a ranking factor by giving SEOs a bit more insight into how HTTPS as a ranking signal factors into the algorithm.
Google uses HTTPS as a tie breaker when it comes to the search results. If two sites are virtually identical when it comes to where Google would rank them in the search results, HTTPS acts as a tie breaker. Google would use HTTPS to decide which site would appear first, if one site is using HTTPS while the other is not.
For many sites, this probably wouldn’t make much of a difference. But for sites that are in very competitive search results, this could give some sites just that little bit of an extra edge in positioning that would make going HTTPS worth it.
We also know that Google is being pretty emphatic about wanting more sites to go HTTPS in order to secure the web for users. If you still haven’t made the switch, it is something to think about, especially if most of your competitors have switched to HTTPS as well.
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