Marketing 5 min read

How Website Security Affects SEO: Part 2 of SEMrush Ranking Report

seanbear |

seanbear |

Table of Contents for our Analysis of SEMrush’s SEO Ranking Report:

  • Part 1: Introduction, methodology, and key ranking factors.
  • Part 3: How backlinking and referring domains influence SEO.
  • Part 4: Content length and its ranking factors.
  • Part 5: Which parts of on-page SEO are the most important.
  • Part 6: How site traffic and behavior cues affect SERP ranking.

Following Part 1 of our examination of the SEMrush research study, Part 2 digs into website security and how it affects page ranking.

Website security is not just central to businesses that offer sensitive online transactions; It affects SEO rankings and is a crucial factor for any website aiming to provide the safest navigation environment possible for users.

In the wake of recent cyber attacks and ransomware scares, now more than ever, website security is paramount.

Google has made it clear that the company, in general, is pushing for a more secure internet, and their algorithms specifically are giving a great focus to website security.

At the 2014 Google I/O convention, the company called for “HTTPS Everywhere” on the web.

That same year, Google announced on its Webmaster Central Blog that it will use HTTPS as a ranking signal in an effort to boost website security and make the Internet safer.

Research Method

To better track the correlation between HTTPS migration and page rankings, the SEMrush team:

  • Analyzed 600,000 search queries
  • Calculated the percent of domains that have an HTTPS version for every top-100 SERP position
  • Segmented the high-volume keyword group by keyword length

Based on their research, the team discovered that more domains with an HTTPS version reside with high ranking pages.

The same goes for keyword volumes.

The graph below illustrates that the high-volume keyword group has the most prominent HTTPS domains found on every SERP position:

On the other hand, segmenting HTTPS by keyword length yielded some surprising results.

The research study suggests that there are fewer HTTPS domains for high-volume long-tail keyword queries.

This means that creating an HTTPS version of your website will increase your chances of ranking for high-volume long-tail keywords.

How HTTPS Affects Your Marketing Strategy

You might be wondering how these findings from the SEMrush research study will affect your business.

Creating an HTTPS version of your website will increase your chances of ranking for high-volume long-tail keywords.Click To Tweet

If your focus is digital or online marketing, then these findings mean one thing for you and your SEO strategies: Migrating your site to HTTPS is a plus factor if you want to conquer the search engine results page (SERP).

The high-volume keyword group clearly shows a high adoption rate for HTTPS. 

This means that the more popular the keyword is, the more dominant the HTTPS domains will be for the top-ranking positions.

Even if you are targeting low-volume keywords, migrating to HTTPS would still give your site an edge.

SEMrush found that less competitive niches have a 10% fewer HTTPS adoption rate as compared to high competition niches.

This information alone offers you a greater opportunity to outrank your competitors and increase website security.

Why Else Should I Migrate to HTTPS?

HTTPS migration is no easy feat.

This process involves server testing, installing security certificates and updating different references, to name a few.  

While the task can be daunting and time-consuming, it is certainly worth it.  In addition to improving keyword ranking factors, migrating to HTTPS would increase website security by protecting your site from the following risks:

  • Website hacking
  • Server or network hacking
  • Software vulnerabilities
  • DDOS attacks

SEMrush found that less competitive niches have a 10% fewer HTTPS adoption rate as compared to high competition niches.

Google also emphasized the following reasons why a site should (read: “must”) switch to HTTPS:

  • Data will not be susceptible to corruption or modification during intentional or unintentional transfers.
  • Exchange data will be secure from “eavesdroppers.” This means that users will be safer from malicious actors that attempt to “listen” to online conversations, steal information, and track other’s online activities.
  • Website security also ensures that users are only communicating with the intended site (this is an effective way to build user trust).

SEMrush Tools for HTTPS Migration

SEMrush has developed the SEMrush Site Audit Tool and the SEMrush Sensor to make both website HTTPS migration easier for website owners.

The site audit tool can help you monitor your site by finding issues during the implementation and maintenance of your secured pages.

Additionally, its HTTPS checks can quickly detect security issues on any website.

The SEMrush Sensor is designed to will help you see if your niche is filled with HTTPS domains.

Having enough knowledge about the HTTPS domains in your niche will serve to help expand your SEO strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • Google launched its “HTTPS Everywhere” campaign to help create a safer internet environment for online users
  • Website security is an important ranking factor
  • HTTPS domains mostly dominate the high-ranking positions in SERP

In our next article on the SEMrush study, Edgy Labs will dig deeper into the importance of a Referring Domain. What is a Referring Domain and why has it remained a top-ranking factor for 2017?

Stay tuned for as we share more information from the SEMrush research study in Part 3 of our six-part series.



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