This morning Dr. Pete put up a post on the Moz Blog noting significant changes in the Mozcast index yesterday. Based on the information provided from SMX West, many of us in the industry expected another algorithm change (Panda update) but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Dr. Pete reported this spike was possibly the result of Wikipedia moving their entire site from HTTP to HTTPS, and this could have been a major reason why we’re seeing such a dramatic change. Something to keep in mind is that Wikipedia owns the top positions for thousands of terms across the web, so changing a site as big as the major Wiki would cause a stir in the index. As Dr. Pete’s post notes, Wikipedia actually moved up a few spots for the terms they’re currently ranking for as their pages were turned to HTTPS. This is a small anecdotal study, so it’s not to say that changing your site to HTTPS will result in immediate rankings boost, but it is interesting to see a giant site move by such a simple change. We do not know if there were other changes taking place at that time, but the HTTPS switch was one that became publicly known.
For years SEO’s have tried tactics focusing around marketing Wikipedia pages for businesses (optimization for rep management, securing source links, etc), so this change may cause a few more companies to try those tactics. This story is definitely interesting to watch, and I’m really interested to see how it plays out. Google usually rolls out a smaller (hidden) update around the same time as they roll out a bigger, and more public update. Right now it’s too soon to tell whether Google will take a serious stance on HTTPS signal boosts, but like Dr. Pete noted, ” I think we can expect Google to become increasingly serious about HTTPS, even if what we saw yesterday turns out not to have been an algorithm update.”
Your move Google.
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