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Can switching to HTTPS harm ranking?

Can switching to HTTPS harm ranking? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from Roelant in the Netherlands who wants to know if a website goes SSL, that’s like https, secure, entirely, can it harm ranking even if done right? No speed loss, http does 301 to https. Existing incoming links would still be http and it’s assumed that forwarding-links are valued less by Google than links to the page itself. So essentially this person wants to know can I go https and be able to rank with no major problem. Well if you go to Google and you do a search for PayPal, I believe PayPal has switched to https. So that’s a good example I like to show that websites can rank even if they’re only using a secure version. And they’re doing 301’s and everything else. Now that said, it’s still relatively uncommon for site to try this. So even though I’m not aware of anything in the code that would prevent it from working perfectly, I would definitely test a little bit first. If you have, for example, two or three domains, I might test it with the domain that gets the least amount of traffic first. And that’s just a good rule of thumb anytime you’re moving from like one domain to another domain. If you can move a subdirectory first or just run some tests to sort of see whether things go OK. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t know of any reason why you wouldn’t be able to rank with just https. And the fact that PayPal does shows that it’s definitely possible. It’s just I haven’t seen a lot of sites do it right now. So if you do, leave a comment in the comments for this video and let us know how it went.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: