SEO News You Can Use: Security Headers Doesn’t Affect SEO, Says Google Expert

SEO News You Can Use: New Updates to Chrome FLEDGE

Google’s YouTube series, SEO Office Hours, presented a user question: “Does the integration of security headers such as HSTS have a ranking influence?” 

According to John Mueller, a Google Search Advocate, the answer is no.

Recently, we also covered a similar topic on SSL and HTTPS, which was also addressed by Mueller. In that separate news, HTTPS is considered a lightweight ranking factor, meaning it doesn’t directly influence rankings.

This time, Mueller said that implementing security headers does not affect search engine optimization (SEO) in any way.

He clarified that Google “does not rely on headers like those used for HSTS.” Instead, it “uses a process called canonicalization to pick the most appropriate version of a page to crawl and index.”

So, what’s the difference between HSTS and HTTPS?

HTTPS is a protocol that allows for secure data transfer between two systems. It only works on websites and apps secured through certificates (SSL).

Meanwhile, HSTS (HTTPS Strict Transport Security) is a security response that tells the browser to only access a web page through HTTPS from the moment it is loaded. When the browser reaccesses the web page in the future, it will only load the page through HTTPS.

Other response security headers include 404, a response status code instructing the browser to return an error page, and 301, a permanent redirect from one URL to another.

The problem with 404 and 301 headers is that they’re still vulnerable to hacking and other malicious activities. HSTS addresses these vulnerabilities by instructing the browser to only access the page through HTTPS.

“Using these headers is of course great for users, though,” Mueller said.

That’s because, while security headers don’t affect SEO, they do provide an additional layer of safety and privacy that protects your visitors. If you want to ensure the best user experience possible, implementing security headers is an excellent option.

Here’s the full transcript of Google’s June edition of English SEO Office Hours.

More SEO News You Can Use

Most SEO Pros Are Not Impressed With Search Generative Experience – Poll: Can Google’s SGE search engine live up to the hype? Unfortunately, most respondents in a June 1 Twitter poll don’t think so. Out of 805 votes, only 6.7% thought it was a “significant improvement” over traditional search. Meanwhile, a whopping 20.5% think it’s not an improvement at all. Even more telling, 28.4% of respondents fell somewhere in the middle, feeling “meh” about SGE’s potential. And while SGE incorporates conversational artificail intelligence (AI), SEO professionals aren’t convinced it’s the game changer Google claims it to be. In the same thread, one user points out that: “the redundancy with featured snippets is quite bad.” Another user said that his non-SEO friends “just like the background color and said that it looks cool.” It’s clear that SEOs are skeptical about SGE’s potential, so it looks like Google has some work to do if it wants to get more people on board. Dig deeper into this story with this Search Engine Roundtable article.

Long-Form Video Content Now on Google Business Profiles: Google has unveiled a significant change to its mobile search results, much to the delight of local-based businesses. Until now, only videos that were 30 seconds or shorter were ever featured on a Google Business Profile listing within the mobile search results. But that’s all changed, as viewers may now glimpse even longer-form videos. Mike Blumenthal took to Twitter to announce this new feature: “This increased video visibility is now showing on mobile search in browsers and the mobile Google app as well.” One user replied that videos are not limited to 30 seconds only, sharing a two-minute video clip in a GBP listing. It looks like the only way your video gets rejected is when it exceeds the maximum file size of 75MB. So if you have a longer-form video under 75MB, you’re good to go. Click this Search Engine Roundtable post to learn more.

Google Bard Can Now Use Precise Device Locations: Google Bard has stepped up its game by accessing your device’s location to give you more accurate results about restaurants and local spots. So, don’t be surprised if a handy popup asks for your location. In their changelog, Google says that “precise location helps Bard provide more relevant responses” on restaurants and other amenities within your area. Many users were disappointed with Google Bard’s previous lack of citations and constant response hallucinations, so this is a welcome development. Learn more about this update in this Search Engine Land article.

Generic TLDs vs. Country-Specific TLDs – Search Advocate Explains the Difference: In a Reddit thread, Google Search Advocate John Mueller clarified what a country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) means for SEO. “ccTLDs tend to focus on one country, which is fine if you plan on mostly selling in that country, or if you want to sell globally,” Mueller explains. “If you mostly want to target another country (like “” but you want to target the US), then make sure to get either that ccTLD or a gTLD.” A gTLD or generic Top Level Domain is open to anyone, regardless of location. “Some sound geo-specific, but they’re technically not (like ‘.berlin’ – it’s a gTLD),” Mueller said. This is relevant to the recent domain update in their help documentation, where they said the .ai domain is a gTLD, just like the .com and .org domains. This means you don’t have to worry about Google associating your website with Anguilla, which is a location that the .ai domain is associated with. Dive deeper into this story with Search Engine Journal.

You Can Make More Money With YouTube – Report: Based on influencer marketing platform Aspire, YouTube is the top dog when it comes to partnering with creators for brand deals. A whopping 6% of YouTube creators are making more than $10,001 per month. That’s double the rate of Instagram and triple the rate of TikTok creators. In fact, half of all YouTube creators are making over $500 per month. While it may be pricier to work with YouTube creators, the engagement rates are unbeatable – 50% compared to just 2-3% on TikTok and Instagram. Why? The report explains that “YouTube’s longer video format allows creators to dive deeper into your products in each video,” which is crucial for tech and gear products that need longer how-tos and tutorials. The survey results also indicated that creators were frustrated with TikTok as they were not paid enough. Many creators said they were paid between $0.02 – $0.03 per 1,000 video views. In the contemporary context of big influencer marketing investments, YouTube offers brands the most lucrative and beneficial return on investment (ROI) while working with influencers. According to Aspire, the survey polled 1,000 US-based, diverse creators. Download the study or read this Search Engine Land post for more information.

Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.

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