An HTTP to HTTPS Migration can affect your SEO ranking if not done properly.
There are several benefits in transitioning to a secure protocol ranging from increases in organic ranking signals to increased security and trust. Search Engine Land provides a few reasons why you should consider migrating your site to HTTPS including: encryption, data integrity, and authentication. This blog post will address what you should do immediately after you transition your site to HTTPS for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. I'd hate for your business or agency to make the same mistakes as some many others.
First, one important need-to-know, when you migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, you are in for a ride and it takes a month or so for your site to re-index and catchup organically. Thus, an important piece of advice, migrate your site during your slow period, if your business is seasonal. Another tactic to consider would be to ramp up your Google and Bing Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns during this period. Here is what you should do on Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
On Google Webmaster Tools, you should immediately add the new URL as https://www.yoursite.com or https://yoursite.com. Just like your HTTP version, you may need to add both variations if you’re unsure. If you already know which URL version indexed previously, use that one. Then make sure you update the new HTTPS version of your site in Google Analytics and connect it the new version in Google Webmaster Tools. Finally, you should submit a new sitemap and fetch and render your key URLs. Follow your index status to ensure Google indexes your site appropriately. If it’s been a month and indexing hasn’t occurred, you may have added the wrong HTTPS versions to your site (i.e., www.yoursite.com Vs. yoursite.com). Continue to monitor your sitemaps and crawl errors as usual.
For Bing Webmaster Tools, the process is a little bit different. Unlike Google Webmaster Tools, you don’t need to add your site URL variations, but you should notify Bing of the change using the “Site Move” link under Diagnostics & Tools. Select the, “I am moving URLs from one place to another within the current site option.” Scope: Directory, Source: http://www.yoursite.com, Destination: https://www.yoursite.com. You can only change this once in 180 days, so make sure you get it right. I then highly recommend going to the Configure My Site section and submitting a new sitemap and using the Submit URLs tool for your key pages. Depending how many pages your site is you might be able to submit all URLs throughout the month.
The truth is, the migration is a bit painful organically for a month or so, but is well worth the risk if done during an appropriate period. Our team has seen decent increases in keyword positions after a protocol change. However, if you don’t follow the steps above, you may experience substantial decreases in traffic, which isn’t good for business. If you already migrated and didn't consider the steps above, do so ASAP and you should start seeing an almost immediate uptick in organic impressions and positions.
As a digital marketing agency, we have the pleasure of experiencing these types of transitions occasionally. Hopefully, you find this information useful?
Brad Holly, MBA
Principal at Acutate Media, Google Adwords & Analytics Certified.
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