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Why are Non-SSL Websites Falling Behind in Google Search Rankings?

Google undoubtedly has the most advanced algorithm. The search engine giant is so smart that their algorithm is constantly updated and adapted to improve the user experience. In recent times, Google has been pushing webmasters to move their non-SSL websites to HTTPS. Why is Google making a call to go secured? What happens if webmasters don’t comply with Google’s call? In this article, I will focus on why moving to HTTPS sites means better search ranking on Google.
There are more than 200 ranking signals or factors that Google algorithm uses to rank and display the results once a search is done. Yes! You read it right, there are more than 200 ranking signals or factor, but don’t let the figure overwhelm you as not all the 200 factors carry the same weight. Most of these factors are not yet revealed but, over the years we have come to know about a few important factors that can determine the rank of your website.

Most important ranking factors for Google

Here are some of the most important Google search ranking factors that impact the rank of your website:

  • Mobile-friendly websites
  • The speed of the web pages
  • Schema mark-up
  • Content quality on the website
  • Length of the content
  • Backlinks
  • Visual content
  • Domain
  • Social signals
  • Security of the websites (HTTP HTTPS)

HTTPS is one of the most important factors that determine the search engine ranking of a website.

Even though Google says HTTPS ranking factor is not above quality content and backlinks, under the changed circumstances, users are intimidated to leave HTTP websites as Chrome browser flags it as insecure. Before going into the details of how non-SSL websites are losing traffic and ranking, let me give you an overview of how HTTP differs from HTTPS.

All the websites that you find on the internet are divided into two categories HTTP and HTTPS. Google tends to rank the HTTPS better than HTTP.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) vs. HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer)

HTTP and HTTPS are protocols designed to send and receive information between the systems to the World Wide Web. However, the main difference between these two protocols is the “S” that is attached in HTTPS. The “S” in the HTTPS stands for Secure Socket Layer or SSL which acts as a sublayer under the regular HTTP application layering. In layman’s terms, HTTPS websites are more secure than the non-SSL websites. HTTPS encrypts the basic HTTP message before sending it, and it also decrypts a message when it gets one. While HTTP use port of 80, HTTPS uses 443 port which is more secure. So, we can say that the benefits of HTTPS websites are much higher than the HTTP websites.

Google Chrome’s latest update marks non-SSL websites as insecure

Back in year 2014, Google officially announced that HTTPS websites would have a better chance of ranking well in its search engine when compared to the HTTP websites. Now, after almost a year of announcing it, Google finally has taken a step to force the website owners to upgrade their HTTP websites to HTTPS. In its new update, Google has updated its Google Chrome browser which will now display the message “non-secure” for the websites that do not contain SSL certificate.

Non-SSL websites falling behind in the Google search rankings

The new Google Chrome update has had a significant impact on the HTTP websites. Google Chrome is the primary browser for more than 50 percent of the total internet users, which again is a primary factor of why HTTP websites fall behind in the Google search rankings. The “non-secure” warning in the browser for the HTTP websites have made people suspicious, leading them to close the website quickly. This has lead to increased bounce rates and decreased rankings.

How to make your website secured?

If your business website is still not SSL certified, it’s high time you consider doing so. Here’s how you can do it:


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Follow all these steps mentioned above and make sure that your website doesn’t stay behind in the search engines because of being non-SSL certified.

After the recent Chrome update, I have found that people visiting a “non-secure” tend to bounce within 2 to 3 seconds. This is causing additional damage to websites as higher bounce rate is directly linked to Google search ranking. Google has already confirmed that sites with higher bounce rate will fall behind in ranking.

Google, the most popular and widely used search engine, has become an integral part of our life. The search engine is used by almost everyone starting from students to business owners. Their motto is to give them the best result and higher bounce rate is a negative ranking signal as far as Google is concerned.

If you own a business website, then chances are you already know how search engines help your business to grow. So, if you are not following the best practices in the industry, chances are that your competitor my gain an edge and outrank you in Google.

Search engines like Google rank the websites considering various aspects, especially content quality and quality backlinks. Of late, HTTPS has also become one of the biggest factors and if you are optimizing your website, make sure you have HTTPS as one of the priorities.

About Jafar Sadhik


Jafar Sadhik is a passionate logophile turned creative content specialist pursuing a dream in ever inflating digital market. I am currently a technical blogger at Stan Ventures, a digital marketing company.
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