When all other ranking signals are equal, HTTPS will give the edge needed to top other sites in search results.
Google’s Gary Illyes recently mentioned this on Twitter after I reached out regarding this week’s news about HTTPS and search impressions.
The top ten sites verified in Google’s Search Console are now all HTTPS. I was hoping to find out how much of a factor HTTPS was in those sites getting the most search rankings.
I asked Illyes on Twitter and this was his response:
@MattSouthern more like a dealbreaker. All other signals being more or less equal, it gives a page the edge needed to top the other result
— Gary Illyes (@methode) July 21, 2015
That’s clearer than when HTTPS as a ranking signal was first announced. At the time, it was stated HTTPS was a “lightweight” ranking signal. Well, how lightweight? How much of an advantage is HTTPS when competing in search?
Now we know definitively: When two sites with similar ranking signals are competing in organic search, the site using HTTPS will be ranked ahead.
For those considering whether or not to go HTTPS solely for the SEO benefits, it sounds like it would be worthwhile if you’re looking for a slight edge over other sites in a highly competitive niche.
However, by the sound of it HTTPS shouldn’t be considered a priority compared to working on the more important on-page and off-page ranking signals. As Illyes said, Google considers other ranking signals first before looking at HTTPS.
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