On December 17th, Google announced they will now begin exclusively indexing HTTPS pages whenever they have an HTTP page equivalent. This means that if there are two web pages on the same domain with identical content – but one is HTTPS and the other is HTTP – Google will now index the HTTPS page. This is in an effort to improve the user experience, as HTTPS guarantees a more secure connection – devoid of eavesdropping from online scammers.
Google has long preferred indexing HTTPS pages, evidenced by their August 2014 update, which boosted rankings for HTTPS pages. This new update should yield a marginal increase in rankings for HTTPS URLs, but this is not necessarily by design, as it will be a mere side-effect of Google’s effort to index fewer HTTP pages.
To lead by example in this goal of theirs, Google has had GMail, Google Search and YouTube assigned to HTTPS connections back in 2011. Now several years later, Google announced that their top ten most indexed sites are now on HTTPS servers. This shows the internet is moving in a direction that guarantees a future without HTTP pages.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, was initially implemented back in the 90s as a means of securing online payment. This stood as its primary function until the late 2000s, when its potential to drastically improve the user experience was recognized. We now see it on a number of pages because it prevents scammers from using malware to gain sensitive information from people browsing the site.