My students often ask, “Does my websites have to be secure for SEO?” The short answer is an emphatic, “YES! No matter how good your content and backlinks you will never rank WELL for competitive terms without securing your site.” Here’s theempirical proof to back that up.
Of the 100 most popular searches in the U.S among the top 50 results for each there are only 25 not secure pages that rank. Out of 5,000 pages that only 25 rank as not secure pages. Another perspective is, one half of one percent (.5%) are not secure.
To stand a chance of ranking it is essential to secure your web sites.
Starting with AHrefs’ publicly posted Top 100 Searches we performed incognito searches on each term (here’s the data), identified all the http:// urls in the Google SERPS and clicked through on each to confirm they were, in fact, NOT secure. Interestingly, several reflected not secure in the SERPs only to discover they redirected to secure sites after all. Those were omitted from the final count as you’ll see in the Google Sheet.
Also, some rankings were clearly of a local flavor due to our geography. Incognito doesn’t mask geolocated IP address. Those local sites were retained in the published count. Therefore the results are skewed in a minor sense but not so much as to change the conclusion.
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