Google tends to rank HTTPS websites better, striving to protect users. Having a valid SSL-certificate helps a website receive some ranking boost.Back in 2014, Google officially introduced HTTPS as a ranking signal.
“…over the past few months, we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”
However, according to Garry Illyes, it’s not a critically important factor.
“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.“
Security’s been one of Google’s concerns for quite a long time. So it’s not surprising that HTTPS was made a ranking signal. And though it is considered to be not a big ranking game changer, it seems to be better to migrate to HTTPS, than not to migrate. Leaving aside SEO, think about doing it for the sake of users.
A server location may signal search engines your website’s relevance to the targeted country and audience.
In this video, Matt Cutts hints at the probability of better rankings, in case of having your site hosted in the country you target audience lives in.
So, just like having country-based top-level domains, a hosting server location is likely to make search engines better understand what audience the site content targets and include it in search results for a certain country. And that’s especially important when you target a highly competitive local SERP.
Page speed is considered to be one of the most significant ranking factors, especially for mobile sites.
Site speed has officially been a ranking factor for a long time already. Starting from 2018, it has been announced a ranking factor for mobile search.
“Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.”
Today, as the majority of searches are made on mobile devices, and users tend to leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, having a faster website is a huge advantage. Moreover, Google’s giving more ranking opportunities to faster websites. Thus, it’s critical to take the necessary steps to increase your site speed (which may include using a CDN, applying compression, reducing redirects, optimizing images and videos, etc.).
Mobile usability is one of the principal factors for a website to rank in mobile search. Multiple case studies prove the correlation between mobile usability and rankings
Introducing the increasing number of mobile-friendly results in search, Google has highlighted the importance of mobile usability for rankings.
“As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.
…we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. ”
Due to the increased number of mobile users, Google’s encouraging websites to make their content accessible for mobile users and ensure smooth performance on mobile devices. Think of everything that can improve user experience for mobile searchers — design, layout, functionality, etc.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are the so-called mobile-friendly copies of website pages. In fact, they are lighter HTML pages created to save users’ time on loading content. There’s been evidence that AMP pages tend to rank higher. Having AMPs is considered to be a condition for a website to appear in the news carousel.
John Mueller claimed that AMPs were not a ranking factor. He admitted, however, that Google could use them to assess a site quality, provided that they were canonical pages.See more about SEO.
“So I guess you need to differentiate between AMP pages that are tied in as separate AMP pages for your website and AMP pages that are the canonical version of your site.
…if it’s a canonical URL for search, if it’s the one that we actually index, then yes we will use that when determining the quality of the site when looking at things overall. ”
AMPs are a great solution for mobile web — they make websites much lighter and thus, deliver content to users faster (and speed matters greatly for mobile users). Though not a direct ranking signal, AMPs still may impact site quality.