Can switching to HTTPS harm ranking?
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Can switching to HTTPS harm ranking?

Today’s question comes from
Roelant in the Netherlands who wants to know if a website goes
SSL, that’s like https, secure, entirely, can it harm
ranking even if done right? No speed loss, http
does 301 to https. Existing incoming links would
still be http and it’s assumed that forwarding-links are valued
less by Google than links to the page itself. So essentially this person wants
to know can I go https and be able to rank with
no major problem. Well if you go to Google and you
do a search for PayPal, I believe PayPal has switched
to https. So that’s a good example I like
to show that websites can rank even if they’re only
using a secure version. And they’re doing 301’s
and everything else. Now that said, it’s still
relatively uncommon for site to try this. So even though I’m not aware of
anything in the code that would prevent it from working
perfectly, I would definitely test a little bit first. If you
have, for example, two or three domains, I might test it
with the domain that gets the least amount of traffic first.
And that’s just a good rule of thumb anytime you’re moving
from like one domain to another domain. If you can move a subdirectory
first or just run some tests to sort of see whether
things go OK. To the best of my knowledge, I
don’t know of any reason why you wouldn’t be able to
rank with just https. And the fact that PayPal
does shows that it’s definitely possible. It’s just I haven’t seen a lot
of sites do it right now. So if you do, leave a comment in
the comments for this video and let us know how it went.


  • Ryan Boots

    I would be really careful with this. I'm working on a site that was switched 100% to SSL before I went to work on it, and our front page PR tanked. I believe it harms backlinking: most web writers and content management systems automatically link to non-SSL by default. Bottom line: unless there's a really good reason to SSL the entire site, I'd focus on only securing the portions of the site that really need it (i.e. payment gateways and the like).

  • Sean Powell

    Just watched my site's search traffic after switching to SSL

    We did not 301 all pages because we wanted to support SSL but not force it on people's browsers.


    Well, we'll be 301'ing and seeing what happens, but so far, pretty bad.

  • Sean Powell

    Correction: just watched my site's traffic TANK

    In google webmaster tools I registered SSL and non-ssl urls and they show different graphs for sure. One spiking up (ssl), one diving really bad (non), but the spike for SSL isnt even half the traffic of the loss on non-ssl.

    I tried to use the "Change of address" feature in GWT and it does not list the SSL version inthe list of verified sites i can switch to, even though i did verify it.


  • Roger Taiber

    Kann ich auf https wechseln ohne am Ranking einzubüßen? Diese Frage kann man schnell beantworten. Hier die deutsche Auflösung

  • Santosh Sharma

    on 12-feb-2014 i installed ssl on my website and after one week i lost 90% traffic from my website and now my website is not visible on first page of search result for words it was showing before 20th feb. My website is a online store so I moved it to ssl

  • Vincent Tobiaz

    @Dan Shure we meet again. Yes I woulda said this too up until the recent HTTPS news – and apparently it doesn't slow down a site barely at all anymore. 

  • Stacy Croy

    If your site had a page rank already established when using http, would it lose that ranking when switching to https?

  • Alex Borsody

    most of you people complaining about losing traffic probably dont realize you have to setup a new google analytics account for https:// as it is viewed as a separate domain or merge the account for these two domains. 

  • Atestate La Informatica

    We just added SSL for but in the second day after we added this we saw that both home pages http and https were in google search results. Our website is on the first page in search results for many keywords and we hope we will not loose trafic because of this change. We did 301 redirect from http to https . Can somebody estimate the time until a website (with at least 500 pages) will be fully passed from http to https in google results?

  • Vlad The Impaler Țepeș III

    I wonder what that answer is in 2016. This vid is from 2011. A long time in SEP terms. Also, Paypal was a bad example. They have big bucks and natural popularity. They will rank no matter what because even if they slip because of SSL, they can pay off Google to get boosted back up. If you think that doesn't happen, you have never been in business before.

    The real question is, does Joe Schmoe's site lose ranking on SSL pages….in 2016

  • Small Business Tax Accounting Payroll at Jacksonville Tax Accountants

    Wow, Google really appears to have burned people forcing out this change. Don't see any definitive answer on this to date except as below, which seems to be a disaster. This issue could use an update from Google. If you are not a web store, just a site, what do you do?

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