Since Google announced a ranking boost for moving your site to HTTPS, and feedback has been all over the map. Some webmasters moved their site immediately, while others expressed outrage.
Reasons To Move
If customers submit sensitive (legal, financial, personal) information through your website, it’s a good idea to think about the possibility of moving to HTTPS. With that said, this isn’t something that’s done in the blink of any eye. You need a structured plan, the know-how, the manpower, and the patience to test if there are any kinks after the move.
If you plan on new website launch or redesign in the near future, making the move to HTTPS won’t be such a bad idea. Since you’re already doing all the heavy lifting at once and giving the website a major overhaul, moving to HTTPs can be another step in this move. It will be helpful to make a major change like this all at once so that Google can index it in a more timely manner.
Alternatively, if you have a test site or websites, making the move can be a positive thing since you can accurately monitor the success (or failure) of the move to HTTPS. Testing is never a bad thing and this test project can give you a taste of the work it will take and the results from the move.
Reasons Not to Move
First, Google said that HTTPS would be used as a search ranking factor. But more recently, Google’s John Mueller said that there is no “magical SEO advantage when switching from HTTP to HTTPS.” From what we know so far, there is no clear SEO benefit to moving to HTTPS. But Google is implying that it could change quickly.
SSL certificates and implementing a side wide move to HTTPS isn’t a walk in the park. If you don’t have a qualified web developer, this move (and improper redirection) could be disastrous for your website and rankings.
If you’re happy with how your website is performing and don’t want to make any waves, it might not be such a good idea to rush into the HTTPS move. Some SEOs believe that Google is waiting until the holiday season to unleash an important Penguin refresh.
Will You Make the Move?
One thing that’s sure is that there doesn’t seem to be a magic solution to anything in SEO and HTTPS isn’t an exception. If you aren’t ready to make the move just quite yet, it’s still helpful to think about how you would shortly down the road, as Google may make it a more important factor. Read about HTTPS as a ranking signal on Google’s blog and let us know if you have any questions.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.