Google has said before that having SSL on your site is a “light-weight ranking” factor, and that continues to be the case, but Google seems to be pushing a bit harder on it now.
You can read more about this in the full post over on Search Engine Roundtable.
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In a variety of recent tweets, Google’s John Mueller and Gary Illyes confirmed a few new things regarding SSL certificates on websites.
First, they say that having an SSL isn’t a big ranking factor, but can be a “tie-breaker” when two sites are nearly identical for a query. Even if your certificate is broken (which would cause other issues), you still get credit for having https in your URL. To quote Gary Illyes:
“A broken cert will affect other things though. For reasons, i know for certain that the ranking signal itself would be unaffected: you have https in the result, you get the (tiebreaker) boost”
The quote that really matters comes from John Mueller. Back in episode 72 we shared John’s words that “we do use https as a light-weight ranking factor” and he essentially continued that here. The words “tie breaker” in the previous tweet brought up an interesting question from user Rob P, who said:
“With so many signals going into the algo (over 9000?), how often do ties come up?”
Gary Illyes responded with:
“I can’t say the exact number but the signal affects enough queries measurably that i wouldn’t ignore it”
As we’ve said before, even if the ranking boost is minimal, SSL certificates are good for your users and typically free from your hosts, so there is no reason not to have one on your site. If you still don’t use https on your site, today is the day to get that going.