Can we now conclude that https is the way forward?

Do you need https to rank on page 1?

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/22472196399/

This is not the first time we have posted about having an https domain and what the relevance and importance of this is – perhaps beyond the obvious.

In case any of you are new or unfamiliar with the term, let us quickly explain what it is. Https is a form of ‘secure’ server which is encrypted meaning that data cannot be breached. It is the ‘s’ in https that stands for secure. Websites that don’t have this status (i.e. Ordinary http sties) are not afforded the protection that https offers, Typically you will see shopping sites, banking websites etc with the https prefix – essentially anything where you have to transfer secure information or data.

Increasingly ‘non-essential’ sites are converting to https – partly because they want to be secure, but also because there have been signs that Google offers a rankings boost to sites who adopt this.

One of the latest news and reports by Moz gives real effect to this above assumption, and possibly shows the way for the future more clearly than ever before.  The report shows that half of terms on page 1 of Google’s search ranking results have the secure https as their server. This is up from around 20% from under a year earlier. The report also goes further and makes a projection for the future, suggesting that this figure could rise to as much as around 70% of terms on page 1 by the end of 2017.

According to Moz and by looking at the figures, there doesn’t seem to be any sort of rapid change that an algorithm or some other kind of update could have made to this reality, and it seems like any change has come as a result of a natural transition towards https. However when you look at how the figures have changed in a short space of time, along with what is estimated for the near future (rather than much in the future,) you would be foolish not to take note of what is being communicated.

It is important to point out that the Moz study only focuses on a sample of keywords (that said, 10,000 is a decent sample size.) This could then be interpreted in two ways: Firstly the sample isn’t really representative and so the figures many not apply in the broader sense. Secondly, that if this applies to 10,000 keywords then if more keywords are factored in would the results actually then be much higher? We would tend to side with the latter rather than the former, as evidence and recent developments show there is a definite push towards the importance of https.

What does this mean for the future – both near and longer term? Well with research presented such as this we definitely wouldn’t underestimate the value of https. Maybe for some ‘acting’ isn’t the right time at this particular moment. However if your aim is being on page 1 of Google (which let’s face it – this is why we are here!) it is something that everyone certainly needs to consider and it seems as though this consideration will become more of a reality over the coming weeks.

Of course there is an ethical argument and point that needs to be stated with this also. There is more to https that appearing on page 1 of Google. Even then remember that it is only a signal in an environment of other important factors too! Don’t rely on this solely!

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