Would a self-signed certificate impact my site for search engines? By that I mean, do robots refuse to index sites with self-signed certificates?
migrated from superuser.com Jan 14 '14 at 7:28
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Using an HTTPS-only version of your site is not going to hurt your ranking, as long as during the switch (assuming you switched from a previous non-HTTPS) you apply all the necessary redirects.
However, I do not recommend using a self-signed certificate for a production website. There are essentially two reasons:
You should use a self-signed certificate only for testing. Purchase a trusted certificate for production.
Certificates today are very cheap, especially standard domain validated certificates.
Google says they use "many things" to determine page rank. I think it is a quite reasonable leap to believe they also use certificate authenticity.
If so, because a self signed certificate is not as trusted, this would probably hurt your page ranking. I'm guessing significantly hurt it.
Furthermore, even if I was able to find your page in Google, it is likely that TrendMicro (my preferred virus software) would by default block it when I tried to view it, putting up a big red notice, "This is a dangerous page".
Also it might be worth noting that not all well known CA signed SSL certificates are the same.
One free cert for example isn't verified as much:
And my credit card processing company says:
It is interesting to note this StartSSL's FAQ page is NOT served by https, while Stripe's help is.
That being said, I use a self signed certificate for development and testing, which I think is the only appropriate place to use this type of certificate.
[Edit: I previously said that I thought the free certificates could not be used for credit card validation. I am now not 100% sure of this one way or another. It seems that free certificates may work some of the time, but not all of the time.]
I don't think anyone will definitively answer the question as it falls into the "Black Art" of SEO.
A reasonably conservative and educated guess though - probably not a good idea - even for regular HTTPS with a correct secure certificate Matt Cutts (Googles SEO authority) is unsure, and the comments were not positive - and this was with everything done right - although I do note its quite an old comment.
Logically though, having a self-signed SSL cert can only make things worse, as it does not have the credibility (and presumably not the level inbound links one would otherwise get).