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Does having an https address matter to SEO?

There is a big difference between http:// and https:// from a security point of view. And Google Chrome now gives a warning to users if the connection to a website is not secure. This may scare off some website visitors.

On the Google Webmaster Central Blog in August 2014 Google said:

For these reasons, 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. For now, it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

Based on what I have seen the last 6 Months, SSL is becoming a more important ranking factor.

Is it more important than quality content? No

Is it more important than quality and variety of backlinks from other websites? No

Is it more important than page metatags? No

No … but.

Having SSL is not yet a crucial ranking factor, but I suspect that will gradually change over the next year or so as a greater majority of of your competitors implement SSL.

The good news is that SSL in not that difficult to set up. Most website hosting companies can sell you an SSL certificate and your webmaster can then replace your http pages with https.

Like domain names, SSL certificates need to be renewed every year or two. The cost for most sites to set up, including purchasing a 2 year certificate and labour, will be about $150 – $250.

Maybe it’s time to think about implementing SSL?