Google reveals little SEO advantage of switching to HTTPS

By James Riches topicIcon SEO, Google

There isn’t a large SEO advantage of using HTTPS

John Mueller, Senior Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, has stated on the 30th September that there is no significant rankings benefit of using HTTPS over HTTP.

Google has previously said that HTTPS is a ranking signal to encourage websites to be more secure. However it is still a “very lightweight signal”, weighted less than signals such as quality content, and should affect less that 1% of all global queries.

The effects of the change

The SEO difference between HTTP and HTTPS is slight as they both follow the same basic principles and switching won’t visually affect a website. However, HTTPS is a safer way to send requests to a server as the communications are encrypted, hence its popularity with e-commerce and financial websites.

For this reason Google is trying to encourage websites to change over, with its eventual aim being a HTTPS everywhere web.

Despite this, many businesses are reluctant to change. This is arguably due to the misconception that HTTPS is costly and may slow a website's response time.

However, the signal could be due to become more weighted in the future, so in the long term it may be in a website’s best interest to switch to HTTPS to rank favourably on Google.

Mueller said: "I think that in the long run, it is definitely a good idea, and we might make that factor stronger at some point, maybe years in the future, but at the moment you won’t see any magical SEO advantage from doing that."

Google often makes changes to its services and uses its influence to effect how we interact with the web. Last month it revealed its top ten improvements to the search features since 2004.