HTTPs as a ranking signal

Hi there!

In this article, we will be looking into the direct relation of HTTPS with ranking signals. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and it is an extension that is used primarily for secure communication over a computer network. Using HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security.

Search Engines and Ranking Factors:

A ranking signal or ranking factor is any characteristic of a website that search engine algorithms might consider to calculate its rankings. Major search engines don’t officially disclose the details of their ranking algorithms; however, many sources of information exist that offer insight.

Security has always been a top priority for Google. By investing a lot of resources in making sure that their services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default. This means that people who are using Search, Gmail, and Google Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google. Beyond the normal stuff, Google is also working to make the Internet safer more broadly and a big part of it is to make sure that websites people access from Google are secure. For instance, Google has created resources to help webmasters prevent and fix security breaches on their sites.

Going even further Google I/O was launched just a few months ago, which was called “HTTPS everywhere” on the web. More and more webmasters are adopting HTTPS (also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security), on their website, which is incredibly encouraging.

Related: Change Your Website’s Host Without Affecting Your Google Rankings

For these various reasons, over the past few months, there have been many different tests being run which are taking into account, whether or not sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in search ranking algorithms. There have been very positive results reported, so people have started using HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now, it’s only a very lightweight signal which has been affecting lesser than 1% of global queries and has carried less weight than other signals such as high-quality content.

While Google has given webmasters the time to switch to HTTPS, they may even decide to strengthen it. This is primarily done to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS, in order to keep everyone safe on the web. Google will also be publishing the best practices in even more detail, to make the adoption of TLS much easier and avoid further common mistakes.

Related: Secure Your Server With Server Security Tips

These are are some of the basic tips that you can follow to get started:

  • Deciding the kind of certificate you need whether it be single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Using only 2048-bit key certificates
  • Using relative URLs for resources that may reside on the same secure domain
  • Using protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Checking out Google’s  site move article for further guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allowing indexing of your pages by search engines wherever possible.
  • Avoiding the no index robots meta tag.

If your website is already working on HTTPS, you can further test out its security level and configuration with the help of the  Qualys Lab tool. If you are also concerned about TLS and your site’s performance, you need not worry. As TLS has been proven to be incredibly fast and of course, if you have any questions or concerns, you can address your concerns through a post in the Webmaster Help Forums. Google wants you to use more websites using HTTPS in the future and hope to make the internet browsing experience more secure than ever.

Related: Always-on Business – Ensure Success with ONPASSIVE


Research has shown that Google HTTPS Ranking is Real and SSL has a direct correlation with higher Rankings. There has been researched obtained from analyzing 1 million search results and it was found “that HTTPS is correlated to higher rankings on Google’s first page. The correlations in Moz’s latest Search Ranking Factors survey has also lead to the same conclusion.

Google now uses HTTPS as a ranking signal. Data analysis has shown that HTTPS websites have a higher advantage of ranking over HTTP links, so switching to HTTPS will benefit any website, whether or not confidential information is involved

In conclusion, HTTPs is definitely a ranking signal, and sites without them are generally deemed as unsafe and are prone to attacks. Many people use a single computer or a phone for all their banking, purchases, and store their passwords as well. This leaves them incredibly prone to attacks in the form of malware, spyware, and viruses. So in conclusion, keep yourself and your data secure by utilizing the power of HTTPs as a ranking signal.

Good luck and thanks for reading!