SSL Is a Google Ranking Factor

SEO Companies should be aware that websites that use secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption will receive a slight boost to their Google search ranking. We can confirm that it is improving organic rankings significantly in Google Search results. Keep in mind that Bing organic results may drop slightly if you only use https:// for your site. They don’t index https sites in the same way as Google.


Google has been cited mentioning the need for greater online security over the last couple years. Of course, Google isn’t a newcomer to SSL technology. It’s been actively pushing encryption across all of its software and online services, including Gmail, Google Drive, and Search. As cyberattacks become more commonplace, however, there’s a greater need for SSL as a de-facto standard.

“…over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal,” wrote Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analysts, on the Webmaster Central Blog.

What Is SSL?

SSL is a form of encryption used to improve the security of websites. It works by sending a 2048-bit public key to the user’s web browser, at which point the web browser verifies the key to ensure it’s valid. The user’s web browser then encrypts a random key, sending it back to the server. Upon receiving the random key, the server sends the user’s web browser an encrypted HTML document of the website. Technical jargon aside, SSL is

You can identify the presence of this protocol by looking for the HTTPS in your web browser. Websites protected with SSL will have the HTTPS prefix instead of the traditional HTTP. If the website you are visiting contains the HTTPS prefix, you can rest assured knowing it’s secure.

Search Ranking Impact of SSL

Google says the use of SSL as a ranking signal is still “lightweight” at this time, affecting fewer than 1% of all search queries. Given that billions of search queries are processed each day, however, that’s still a pretty significant amount. According to Google, high-quality content will continue to trump SSL in terms of ranking influence.

Why The Push For SSL?

Cyber attacks have been on the rise, with major retailers like Target and Home Depot coming under fire. This push for widespread SSL is Google’s attempt to prevent such attacks while promoting a better all-around experience for its end users. You have to remember that it’s in Google’s best interest to create a positive searching experience. If Google’s search results are riddled with unsecured/vulnerable websites, it doesn’t exactly achieve this goal.