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Google's Gary Illyes: HTTPS May Break Ties Between Two Equal Search Results

google-https1-ss-1920Repeating his statements from SMX Sydney earlier this year, Google’s Gary Illyes said Monday that the company’s HTTPS ranking boost may serve as a tiebreaker when the quality signals for two search results are otherwise equal. He talked about that and shared updates on the Panda and Penguin algorithms during a video chat with Bruce Clay.

Speaking about the HTTPS ranking boost that Google formally announced last August, Illyes said his “wishful thinking” is that all websites would use HTTPS. But he also said it’s “perfectly fine” if you don’t, and he repeated his SMX Sydney statement about it being a potential tiebreaker in search results.

I hope that I see more and more websites on HTTPS because I think that privacy, for example, is important, but of course I can’t expect everyone to go HTTPS. Some people don’t have the resources for that. Some people just don’t want to do it for reasons … I don’t know.

It’s important in general, but if you don’t do it, it’s perfectly fine. If you’re in a competitive niche, then it can give you an edge from Google’s point of view. With the HTTPS ranking boost, it acts more like a tiebreaker. For example, if all quality signals are equal for two results, then the one that is on HTTPS would get … or may get … the extra boost that is needed to trump the other result.

Illyes also reiterated that Google is still trying to run the Penguin filter in real time and that the next Penguin update is “still really far away. I think we are still talking about months.”

On the subject of Google’s Panda update, Illyes reiterated that Google is planning “to integrate Panda into our core ranking algorithm,” but for now, it still runs as separate updates that will be “rolled out really slowly.”

If you watch Google’s SEO-related statements very closely, there are likely no new takeaways for you from the video chat. But if you don’t hang on Google’s every word, or if you’re newer to SEO and just need an update on how Google thinks about these SEO topics, you’ll find the 18-minute interview worth your time.

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