Have you been following the debate about whether or not to change the URL from HTTP to HTTPS to gain an advantage?
There’s been significant discussion online about whether it’s a benefit to change the URL from HTTP to HTTPS. Will that give a website an advantage in the search results? Many believed it would, and switched to gain the advantage.
At risk of appearing to be a Luddite, I am an opponent of jumping in on quickly to make sure I’m always on the leading edge. In fact, I’ve come to describe it as the “bleeding edge” as that’s been my experience with search engines and life in general. If something pans out, there’s always plenty of opportunities to get involved and benefit. Almost always, getting in “on the ground floor” means that the only exit is to the basement!
Here’s another case in point about the bleeding edge. HTTPS may have worked with varying degrees of success in the recent past, but a recent change to Google has made the decision about whether or not it’s an advantage a lot clearer.
This graph appears as part of an article found on Advanced Web Ranking’s site about a recent update to the Google algorithm. As you can see, having HTTPS in the URL proved to be a significant disadvantage:
This is just yet another example of the irony experienced by those that consistently strive to be at the forefront of any possible advantage. Sometimes it works and remains in place. Often it doesn’t.
If a change can still be made after the risk has decreased, then the decision becomes on of whether a potentially small, potentially temporary gain is worth the gigantic risk required to realize the gain. One step forward and two steps back doesn’t seem to be a trade-off that would benefit most small businesses.
You don’t have to be on the bleeding edge to remain competitive in most cases. If you are in the “viper pit” of those vying for the top spot in a Google search for something like Viagra, where even a few hours at the top can make a difference to the annual net income statement, then that’s something worth pursuing.
Unlike most businesses, the adrenaline junkies involved in the game of climbing to the top of the search results for some ultra-valuable keyword use any technique available, black hat, white hat – it doesn’t matter. They know their site is expendable and they may have to start over again. It’s part of the game.
I can’t recommend that approach for any stable business.