Digital marketing software and service company Searchmetrics has performed a detailed analysis of rankings of various websites, and determined that there is no discernible difference between HTTP and HTTPS website rankings. Searchmetrics published a blog post which detailed the rankings of HTTP and HTTPS based websites, and calculated how visible those sites were in the search engines, comparing their rankings over time. They compared rankings for hundreds of thousands of different keywords, and noticed that there was a slight boost for websites that used HTTPS in June 2014. However, the ranking boost came from just a handful of directories that were previously outliers. If those outliers were discounted from the ranking list then the picture looks rather different. Google had announced that it planned to use HTTPS as one of its ranking signals. A site that uses HTTPS encrypts traffic sent to and from it, making it more secure for end users. However, HTTPS is just one ranking signal, and Google themselves have made it clear that it carries much less weight than other signals, such as providing quality content. Before implementing this new signal, Google had made it clear that it would affect fewer than one percent of all searches made worldwide, so it makes sense that the difference is not particularly noticeable when the overall rankings are considered. Google has been making a concerted effort to ensure that websites are ranked not just on keywords, but also on overall user experience. In addition to considering issues such as HTTPS, the search engine also considers the quality of pages based on things like mobile friendliness and loading times. The rationale for this new ranking system is that Google provides a service – access to information – and if the page that the user is sent to loads slowly, is insecure, serves malware or redirects the user elsewhere then it is Google that will look bad in the eyes of the end user, not the website itself. Google wants to make sure that surfers get exactly what they are looking for, first time. If your website does not currently support HTTPS then you may want to consider upgrading your hosting. Right now, the ranking difference is minimal but this may not always be the case, and it is good practice to serve your content by HTTPS anyway – even if your users are not supplying sensitive information.