What are the SEO benefits of using HTTPS

In early August, Google announced that it was considering using HTTPS as a positive signal when ranking sites. Currently, the weight of this signal remains low. However, in the future, Google plans to increase its value in determining the position of resources in the search results. This is the way the largest search engine encourages webmasters to use HTTPS.

  • HTTPS is a network protocol that provides secure transfer of information between a server and a user’s personal computer.

HTTPS is one of 200+ ranking factors and Google emphasizes its low weight. Implementing HTTPS requires additional costs for webmasters. They also face several technical challenges and risks. However, HTTPS provides some benefits for site owners:

Correct display of referral data

When a user navigates from a site using HTTPS to a site using HTTP, the referral data is hidden. Analytics systems record direct visits, which is not true. When a user goes to a site using HTTPS, the referral data is saved. Analytics systems record from which resource the user has switched.

Raising positions in the search results

As noted above, Google already takes HTTPS into account when ranking sites. True, an independent study by Searchmetrics, conducted at the end of August, found no influence of this factor on resource positions. However, in the future, the search engine plans to increase the weight of the HTTPS factor. Therefore, the use of a secure protocol can be considered work for the future.

How to make sure that using HTTPS will not negatively affect the position of the site

Use the following checklist:

  • Make sure every element of the resource, including widgets, Javascript, CSS files, images, and CDN, is using HTTPS.
  • Check if you are using a 301 redirect to redirect all HTTP URLs to HTTPS.
  • Make sure the rel = canonical tags include the HTTPS URL.
  • Use relative URLs.
  • Make sure internal links point to HTTPS URL.
  • Make sure search engines index the HTTPS URL.
  • Update your sitemap and add it using Google Webmaster Tools. Do not delete the old version of the card for at least 30 days. This is necessary for search engines to index 301 redirects.
  • Update your robots.txt file. Make sure you don’t block the indexing of important sections of the site.
  • Make sure you are using the latest version of the Google Analytics tracking code. Old tracking code may not support HTTPS.
  • Check if you are using HSTS. This mechanism eliminates incorrect redirects, increases page load speed, and increases connection security.