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Ask Yoast Lower rankings without HTTPS?

Imagine visiting an online shop, and receiving a notification from your browser that this site is not secure. You’re probably not so eager to buy something there and provide this website with private or sensitive information. Well, both your visitors and Google most likely agree!

In 2014 already, Google announced that HTTPS would become a ranking signal. So it’s definitely something to take into account as a website owner. But getting an SSL certificate and moving your website to HTTPS can be difficult, as we at Yoast know all too well. If you don’t do it right, it can have a negative impact on your rankings.

But what about the other way around? In this Ask Yoast, I discuss what to do if you suspect your rankings have lowered because you don’t have an SSL layer.

Larry Launstein Jr. emailed us a question on this subject.

How do you optimize a site that has been lowered in the rankings because of lack of an SSL layer? Is there a workaround for this, or does it need to get an SSL layer no matter what?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Lower rankings without HTTPS?

“So what can you do to optimize a site that has lost rankings, because of lack of an SSL layer or basically because of lack of HTTPS? Well, if all of your competitors have HTTPS and you don’t, at some point you might start losing some rankings because of that.

But I honestly do not believe that that is your only ranking problem if you have a ranking problem. But does every website need HTTPS in the future? Yes. Should you thus be doing that right now if you’re working on your site? Yes, by all means.

If you do migrate, though, make sure that all the old URLs redirect properly to the new ones and, basically, get an SSL certificate and thus HTTPS for your entire site as soon as possible. Good luck!” 

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20 Responses to Ask Yoast: Lower rankings without HTTPS?

  1. Leandro
    Leandro  • 1 year ago

    What about the impact on site load performance (which can affect rankings), does HTTPS impact on load time?

  2. AnzarShopping
    AnzarShopping  • 1 year ago

    There is an expected reduction in site rank after using HTTPS protocol, how can i get the position of my site back? Can you help me in this regards?

  3. Nayank
    Nayank  • 1 year ago

    We recently migrated our site to HTTPS and there’s is no impact. It is same as it was, despite having https I couldn’t outrank big http sites.

    • Melina Reintjens
      Melina Reintjens  • 1 year ago

      Hi Nayank! Great to hear that you’ve moved to HTTPS! But, as Joost already says in the video, if you have a ranking problem, it’s probably not just the lack of HTTPS that causes it. This works the other way around too. So you probably have some more optimizing to do! ;)

  4. Subho
    Subho  • 1 year ago

    Thanks a lot Edwin Toonen, for such a nice post, I will follow these guidelines for my WordPress blog. I hope these guideline will work.

    • Work Sucks
      Work Sucks  • 1 year ago

      It is works !
      Thanks for the great post Edwin !

  5. souravchatterjee
    souravchatterjee  • 1 year ago

    Great Joost de Valk sir. I really appreciate for WordPress lower rankings without HTTPS. This issue has and still is so important and you have addressed it so Informative.

  6. Brian Garcia
    Brian Garcia  • 1 year ago

    Awesome post! Since we have added SSL to our site, we have seen our ranking improve in Alexa! :) Love it!

    • Work Sucks
      Work Sucks  • 1 year ago

      Totally agree with you,
      I have added it too !
      Thanks :)

  7. Brian Garcia
    Brian Garcia  • 1 year ago

    Great article! We recently got our SSL added to our site, and our ranking has been going up since!

  8. Filip Zafirovski
    Filip Zafirovski  • 1 year ago

    Thanks for the share Joost!

    How big of a damage can a not secure site have besides losing costumers?

    • Edwin Toonen
      Edwin Toonen  • 1 year ago

      Hi Filip. Losing your customers is losing your business, so that might just be reason enough ;)

      • Filip Zafirovski
        Filip Zafirovski  • 1 year ago

        lol thanks for the answer.

        Followed you on Twitter :)

  9. LT
    LT  • 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge

  10. bilgi
    bilgi  • 1 year ago

    I hired a developer to install ssl in my website 2 months ago. After he configured the SSL, my rankings decreased dramatically within 1 month. Then I noticed that he didn’t properly configure the redirections of old pages. So I think Google thought I have double pages, one with “http” and one with “https”. Maybe that’s why my site had 500 visitors per day before SSL and 100 visitors per day after SSL. Now I redirected all the http pages but I’m still waiting my visitor number to recover. I don’t know what else I can do to get back my old ranking performance. I’ll be glad if you can give some tips for those who experienced the same loss.

    • Edwin Toonen
      Edwin Toonen  • 1 year ago

      Hi. Yeah, that sounds like a redirect problem. If you did everything according to plan you should be in the clear eventually. Give it some time, though. If it doesn’t return to relatively normal numbers try to ask your web host for help.

  11. Ko Booreman
    Ko Booreman  • 1 year ago

    I switched to https a few days ago and got better rankings within in a few days. From page 2 to 1 with several keywords. https definately helps.

    • Edwin Toonen
      Edwin Toonen  • 1 year ago

      Good work, Ko!

  12. mizikisa
    mizikisa  • 1 year ago

    thanks for the info guys, but what if i get lower rankings after installing https

    • Edwin Toonen
      Edwin Toonen  • 1 year ago

      If you follow the procedures correctly, you shouldn’t see a drop in rankings. If it does drop, there is probably a technical issue with your implementation.