Remember there was a lot of buzz around HTTPS in the SEO industry this summer, after Google officially announced that using HTTPS was a favorable ranking factor? Albeit one that is much less important than other ranking factors, and affects less than 1% of all queries.
As a result there was much discussion about using HTTPS for all content – not just pages for which a secure connection is mandatory, such as transactional or user-account pages.
So far, we haven’t seen any discernible effect on ranking. A Searchmetrics study published at the end of August concluded that there is no relation between HTTPS and ranking:
But of course, we don’t know what the future holds. SEO Roundtable reported that Google hinted at a possible heavier influence of HTTPS on ranking in the future. Here is what the article says:
“Google did say they may ‘decide to strengthen’ the HTTPS ranking signal ‘over time’ to ‘give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS'”. There is a lot of caution in the statement, but that said, that Google has consistently, strongly recommended using HTTPS, and has been encouraging people to switch to HTTPS for some time.
Pros of HTTPS:
Whether you already have a full HTTPS website, are using HTTPS for some content only, or are planning to do so, you’ll need to check that the use of HTTPS does not introduce any negative signals for SEO, such as duplicates or unnecessary redirections.
Click on “Apply” and check in the results table that there are no HTTP URLs in the “redirected from” column. If there are some, you can click on these HTTP URLs to get details such as incoming links (“Inlinks”), which indicate pages they are linked from, where the link needs to be updated to HTTPS.
In addition to the checks above in Botify Analytics:
If you are about to migrate pages from HTTP to HTTPS, don’t bother trying to use Google Webmaster Tools’ change of address tool:
1) Google says there is no need:
2) The change of address tool does not support HTTP to HTTPS migrations yet. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, said that it’s coming (see exchange below), but we don’t know when.
HTTPS is still very much a hot topic. A Moz poll says that 1 Moz blog reader out of 4 plans on making the move to HTTPS.
What about you?
Are you considering moving to HTTPS? Definitely planning to do it? What are your motivations and concerns?
Did you migrate to HTTP recently? How did it go?
Or perhaps you launched a new website built on HTTPS from the ground up?
Let us know!