I am thinking of moving a website (built on Wordpress) to be run entirely over HTTPS so it is more secure and follows Google's "HTTPS Everywhere" mantra.

Can anyone provide some advice on this & what impact will this have on the SEO aspect of the site?

3 Answers 3


Ranking benefit for completely SSL sites?

Last year, Search Engine Land reported that Matt Cutts had said about SSL that he’d “personally love to make it part of the ranking algorithm”. The Wall Street Journal picked up on this last year. Whether or not this actually happens (or, perhaps, has already happened) doesn’t really make much of a difference to me. A completely SSL site looks more trustworthy than a non-SSL one.

From a spam fighting perspective I think I can see why Matt would like it. I don’t think many spam network creators would go through the hassle of setting up SSL for all their sites and buying certificates for all of them. The cost would soon become higher than the profit in many niches.


The recent Heartbleed debacle (if you don’t know what it is, read this simple explanation) showed us once again how vulnerable the web can be. The good thing about it is that when you think about people being able to “listen” to your web traffic, you suddenly realize it might actually make sense to encrypt a whole lot more of it.

Moving your site to https

What you need to be aware of:

  • All of your internal links should start to use https, not just to pages, but for images, JavaScript, CSS, etc. This means going through your theme with a fine comb and cleaning all of those up. Of course you can have your web server redirect http to https (more on that below), but not having to do the redirect is a lot cheaper.
  • Your CDN needs to support SSL too. Of course, we use and love MaxCDN and they can set up SSL for your CDN subdomain very easily.
  • Turns out SPDY is obsolute as mentioned in comments, so you will have to read this : http://blog.chromium.org/2016/02/transitioning-from-spdy-to-http2.html and maybe more about HTTP2.
    • Not all SSL setups are equally safe. Once you’ve set up your site with SSL, it’s important to then make a conscious decision about how safe you want your traffic to be and act on that, more below.
    • If your server supports Server Name Indication you don’t even need a dedicated IP, otherwise you will need static IP adress.

https & SSL Web server config

Some hosting providers will ususlly do this for you if you ask them. But for others you will have to do it yourself, which mean re-compiling your NGINX with HTTP2 support and a few more bits and bobs. For most people it’s probably a better choice to either go with a smart hosting provider or hire someone to do this for you.


SEO Advantages of Switching to HTTPS are Increased rankings, referrer data and Security and privacy.

You really shouldn’t be concerned with switching from HTTP to HTTPS in terms of SEO. Google has been telling webmasters it is safe to do so for years. However, you do need to go through the motions to ensure your traffic doesn’t suffer.

I'll provide you with one link here so you can do a further research about this concern.


HTTPS is good if you are running a website where data security is a prime concern. For example, if you're running a banking website, use HTTPS because you don't want hackers to sniff sensitive banking data while a legit user uses his/her online banking account.

Use HTTP if your website is generic and security is not a concern and you want speed. For example, if you are hosting a general encyclopedia, then HTTP is a good choice since you're delivering speed and there's nothing sensitive that's being transmitted from the site to the clients computer.

The reason why HTTP is faster is because with HTTPS, there is an extra processing step involved.

Here's more info on HTTPS and HTTP in terms of performance:


P.S. I should mention that speed is a huge impact SEO wise. If your site loads too slow, then your pages won't be high in search engine indexes.

  • 1
    Two other reasons. 1) Encrypt user login information even if it's just a forum. 2) Prevent redirection of a page impersonating yours, a la, man in the middle attacks. It doesn't need to be high security reasons alone.
    – Rob
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 19:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.