HTTP to HTTPS – SEO Based Tips to Remember While Performing the Migration
In this era of high paced modernization where everything is under the scrutiny of being outdated, it is important to remember that Internet Marketing does not hold any exceptions. Like everything is in an ever-changing phase, so is the concept of Internet Marketing and processes related to it. That’s exactly why we bring to you this blog to help you understand about one of such changes. The Idea of switching from an HTTP to an HTTPS URL, why is it important and things to remember while doing it from an SEO perspective.
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Ever since its inception, Google algorithms have been on course of never ending marathon of changes and updates. And may that be update like Panda, Penguin or something else they have always played a major role in directly affecting businesses and their website performances with time. So it is always a necessity to keep yourself updated with all such updates to be a step ahead or at least avoid being a lost horse in the race of Internet Marketing Derby.
The Update in 2014
Let us have a look into one of the latest updates by Google in 2014. Where Google came up with a few set of recommendations for URLs mentioning, websites with SSL (HTTPS) encryption will have a chance to rank higher in the Google Search Results in comparison to websites with none. Suddenly Google was talking about websites being more secure, to be appreciated, given more opportunities. It was probably because they always had security as their priority in their own websites and they wanted other websites to follow it too.
But how does it change the game of Internet Marketing, when things are just getting a bit more secure?
It does because an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encrypted URL goes from “ HTTP:// “ to “ HTTPS:// ” which is an impactful change. As in it literally is a step as huge as changing your domain name. And if not carried out properly the results can be horrendous. That is where SEO comes into the picture to help to make these transitions smoother and minimize the damage to the best possible extent.
But before we go any further let us have a look at a tweet from Gary Illyes, Chief Executive at Google –
In the above-mentioned tweet, Gary strongly disregards the SEO experts recommending their clients to ignore the idea of getting their websites secure through SSL encryption or a TLS protocol. There has to be a reason behind it as to why is he being so strong about it? Yes, there is one and it is that Google has updated their algorithms to be better receptive to HTTPS sites over HTTP ones.
But if pondered upon and given a thought, after having known this fact of being preferred over HTTP sites. Why would any SEO expert in their right mind not recommend their clients to switch to a more secure and Google recommended a form of the website? Because in the present scenario it may not be worth the hassle because Google only gives weightage of 1% to SSL encrypted websites. Hence making it a tough deal to work for because with the amount of risk and backlash one might receive for performing migration is just not worth 1% weightage in Search Engine Results. But Gary happens to be so strong about this that, it makes it pretty clear that things are about to change and SSL encryption will go from a light weightage factor to a really strong one. Thus, marking the importance of this update and hence this article.
There are many things one has to keep in while adopting the SSL Encryption or TLS (Transport Layer Security) Protocol. But before we go further into details about it. Let us have a look at what exactly does one mean with adopting the TLS protocol?
It basically means any data that is sent through HTTPS is secured via a TLS Protocol where it goes through the following three layers:
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- Encryption: Encrypting the data being entered or received by the user.
- Data Integrity: Data can not be changed or modified during transfer neither intentionally nor any other way.
- Authentication: Proves users interact with intended websites, thus protecting against any kind of man in the middle and so helping in building safe and secure businesses.
Which marks why is it important have an SSL encrypted website.
Key Points to Remember while performing the Migration.
Things one should keep in mind while performing this Migration from an SEO Perspective as a Digital Marketing Expert. Making sure the website gets affected to the minimum.
- Choose the right level certificate – It is important to choose the right level of certificate i.e 2048 key bit certificate from an accredited and trusted provider.
- Ensure that you have mapped out new HTTPS URLs on the page to the page level, you need to have an exact duplicate URL structure for each and every page with respect to HTTP URLs.
- Ensure all your internal links point to the new HTTPS URLs
- Ensure all External or Backlinks and Social Media links point to the new HTTPS URLs
- Ensure all your rel = canonical tags within your HTML point to your new HTTPS
- Ensure that you have all these in place then you would need to implement a permanent 301 redirect on a page level. Do not 301 redirect everything (via global or via wild card redirect) to the homepage as this will kill your rankings overnight.
- Do not block your HTTPS sites from crawling using Robot.txt.
- Allow indexing of your web pages by Search Engines, avoid noindex robot meta tags.
- Time your migrations strategically with business perspectives in mind, to avoid bigger losses. For example, if it’s Christmas time and your website is the place for Christmas presents and decorations, then make sure that you opt out from migrating right now and wait for the right time to come. Because no matter what amount of optimization you do, website performance will get affected for some time. The amount of time it affects depends on the quality of optimization.
- It is important to make sure all your issues with the present website are resolved before you initiate this migration else Google might take it as an escape route planned by you and lower their trust on you even further.
- Similarly, remember that switching URLs does not solve issues like Panda. It might help at first but as panda redirects to the new URLs, it will again detect same issues de-ranking your website the same way it did before.
- It is important to make sure Google bots are not confused with old HTTP URLs and the HTTPS ones else it might rank the wrong pages.
Following these points ensures, your website has the best chance of maintaining its current rankings. Such important are these details to remember while performing the migration from HTTP to HTTPS.
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