Semalt Explains How The SSL Certificate Affects SEO

Since 2014, the HTTPS connection has started to influence the site's position in Google. This means that sites with SSL certificates have a head start in their search results. Google employees announced this on the company's blog.

Here, the manufacturer of the certificate is not in the foreground. Even if you install a free Let's Encrypt certificate, Google will take it into account.

In this article, we want to answer the following questions: How does the SSL certificate affect SEO? What are the benefits of switching to HTTPS and what difficulties may arise when doing so? This information is useful for those who are considering installing an SSL certificate to improve their position on Google.

In addition, before we get to the first point, we invite you to discover Semalt's certificate installation service. This service with special competence and experience will help you to solve all the problems you might encounter with the SSL certificate.

Let's start with the very first point of this article which is nothing but to find out the impact of SSL certificates on website promotion.

Impact of SSL certificates on website promotion

An announcement from Google states that the SSL certificate has little impact on SEO. It will not be possible to accurately determine the weight of this factor. Google calculates the position of each site individually, and this depends on several hundred factors.

Two major studies have been conducted on this subject. They show a trend: domain owners are not obsessed with installing SSL certificates, despite the SEO bonus.

Findings from the first study

The first study was published by Christoph Engelhardt, a developer of website promotion tools. He checked the 10,000 most visited domains and analyzed the percentage of them transferred to HTTPS. According to the study, the following conclusions were reached:
The study was conducted in 2016. At that time, HTTPS login had been a ranking factor for two years, but 65% of domains were running without SSL certificates.

Switching to HTTPS is always a big deal, especially for large sites. If you don't do it right, you can lose traffic. Domain owners seem to prefer to install certificates gradually. To avoid the complications of SSL certificate installation, Smalt offers a certificate installation service.

Conclusion of the second study

The second study was conducted by Brian Dean, founder of the famous SEO website Backlinko. Together with partners, he analyzed 1 million Google search results to assess the impact of HTTPS on rankings.

Research showed that domain owners are more likely to switch to HTTPS on the first few pages of Google. The first three pages have the most domains with SSL certificates: 25-28%. On the fourth page, the percentage of these domains decreases.

Importance of having a domain with SSL certificates

Switching to HTTPS will not help you rank your site first in Google. But when combined with other factors, an SSL certificate can affect your search ranking. 

If two sites have the same scores on other ranking factors, switching to HTTPS can help you move up in the SERPs. Such high competition only occurs on the first pages of Google.

What about Yandex?

In Yandex, an HTTPS connection does not affect the ranking of a site. It was Google's idea to make HTTPS a ranking factor. This is probably how Google wanted to encourage site owners to install an SSL certificate.

What are the advantages of switching to HTTPS?

There are several undeniable benefits to simply switching your site to HTTPS. In addition to the impact on search engine optimization, SSL certificates also offer other benefits:

Protection of customers' personal data

Protection of customers' personal data. This is the main purpose of SSL certificates. They encrypt passwords, credit card numbers, email addresses, and other information that customers enter on the site. This is designed to prevent attackers from recognizing confidential information if they intercept it.

Visual differences in browsers

Visual differences in browsers. Since January 2017, Google began marking sites that do not run-on HTTPS protocol as untrusted. This means that Google Chrome will display a mark for sites without an SSL certificate.

 If the site has contact forms, but there is no certificate, or it is installed with an error, the word "Untrusted" will appear next to the page address. On sites where the certificate is installed, the word "Trusted" will appear.

How to correctly translate a site to HTTPS?

It is not enough to install an SSL certificate and wait for the site to start climbing in the search results. With this approach, the site's position may even deteriorate: the site will run on both HTTP and HTTPS, and the search engine will decide that they are two sites with the same content.

To help site owners avoid losing traffic, Google has compiled guidelines for switching to HTTPS. Read them before installing the certificate. Consider the main recommendations:

Install SSL certificates with strong encryption

Install SSL certificates with strong encryption. The level of encryption depends on the length of the private key. The optimal length is considered to be a 2048-bit key. As of January 1, 2014, all certificate authorities have stopped issuing certificates with a private key shorter than 2048 bits.

Use a 301 redirect

Use a 301 redirect. There are two main types of redirects: 301 and 302. A 301 redirect redirects traffic to the destination page, while a 302 redirects it to the current page. So set up a 301 redirect from pages that run on HTTP to pages that run on HTTPS.

Do not use the noindex meta tag

Do not use the noindex meta tag. Search engines will not be able to index pages with this tag.

Do not prevent search engines from indexing pages

Do not prevent search engines from indexing pages. To do this, write two commands in the files for and

Use HSTS technology

Use the HSTS technology. This technology forces the browser to request pages via HTTPS, even if the user enters the site address with HTTP.

After installing the certificate, add the site URL back to Google Webmaster Tools. This is because Google's crawler interprets the HTTPS site address as a different resource.

With the numerous constraints you could face in addition to damaging the state of your site, it is useless to try to install your certificate yourself. To avoid any complications and to ensure you get the best service, you can use Semalt's certificate installation service.

Other important things to remember

Don't switch to HTTPS just for SEO. The impact of an SSL certificate on website promotion is not so negligible. Google developers specifically made HTTPS a ranking factor to encourage people to protect their sites. We support this decision because we believe it will make the Internet more secure.

First of all, a certificate is needed to secure the site. Install an SSL certificate if your site has contact forms where customers leave credit card numbers; passwords, email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, etc. This will protect your information from interception, and an added ranking factor will be a nice bonus.

Get ready to migrate to HTTPS. Please read Google's guidelines before installing the certificate. Use them to avoid losing traffic after installation. Or to keep it simple and avoid the disappointment of mishandling, entrust the management of this task to a team of knowledgeable professionals.

Indeed, the certificate installation service of Semalt is at your disposal 24 hours a day. This service will allow you to know more about the certifications. If you are not sure which certificate is right for your site, or if you still have questions, write to our support team. We will try to answer all your questions and help you understand more about how a certificate works.


Through the content of this article, we have just seen more exactly how an SSL certificate affects SEO. This being the case, it is clear that the only way to avoid being penalized by this factor is simply to protect yourself by installing a certificate on your Web server. 

It's also a way to take responsibility for the fact that visitors trust your site. If this trust is shaken and your visitors' information is stolen/disclosed, they may never return to your site. Even worse, you may also face legal repercussions if this happens. 

So, it's in everyone's best interest to secure your website with an SSL certificate. It's not difficult either because you can easily buy an SSL certificate from any certificate authority of your choice at an affordable price. So we suggest you buy and install it today! 

However, because of the consequences of mishandling or installing it incorrectly, we suggest that you leave this task to the experts at Semalt's certificate installation service.