The short answer is YES - SSL DOES MATTER
This is not to say that every page one result is secured by SSL. It’s far from a magic bullet or anything close to that. It would be nice if all you had to do to get great ranking is enable SSL and BAM - you’re on the top of the front page now!
But that’s not it at all. You still need a properly SEO’d site to rank well.
This website - WordPress For Life Coaches has ranked well for it’s primary targeted since inception - it’s a website about WordPress for Life Coaches. It’s got a high percentage of content relating to wordpress for life coaches and google has always given it a high position in the space I focus on…
I enabled a free SSL certificate on it right around the time Google said it’s part of the algorithm, front page ranking stayed at about 2-3. Disabled the SSL - site fell to page two within days!
Crazy fast change - switched it back and now the site is back on the top of the front page as it should be!
Now if I would write an article now and then - it would be the number one site within a month…
*FREE SSL is available as part of the $15/month hosting package through SpinTheWeb.com