Two months ago, Google announced that HTTPS is now a ranking signal used in its algorithm. The company had been pushing the use of HTTPS (HTTP over TLS/Transport Layer Security) for quite some time, and called for “HTTPS everywhere” at Google I/O earlier in the summer.
This week at SMX East Google indicated that 30% of first-page search results have HTTPS URL, which seems to say a lot. Barry Schwartz at SMX sister site Search Engine Land reports:
Gary [Illyes] explained that while only 10% of the crawled and discovered URLs on the web are HTTPS URLs, that 30% of the first page search results contain at least one or more HTTPS URLs. So if you are looking at all the queries done on Google, 30% of the first page of the Google search results for each of those queries have at least one HTTPS URL listed in the results.
He didn’t know why that was the case but he said it was indeed something Google noticed and wanted to share.
Google said when it announced the ranking signal that it would be a "very lightweight signal" at least for the time being. The company noted that it would carry less weight than other signals like high-quality content. Over time, however, it said it may strengthen that signal. It's unclear if it's already been strengthened at all since then, but it seems a little early to have done so.
It will be interesting to see if we get any updates on the URL percentage for first-page results from Google in the future.
Meanwhile, Bing has apparently been mocking Google's use of HTTPS as a ranking signal, saying they'd rather give users content they want.
Image via Google