Google says HTTPS helps you rank better but many webmasters who had moved to HTTPS says otherwise.Google’s Gary Illyes said during the SMX east that 30% of first page results contain one or more HTTPS results. He also noted that only 10% of web pages are on HTTPS.
One question that always pops up whenever HTTPS migration is the topic of discussion is “How to migrate to HTTPS properly?” What are the things needed and how to do it hassle free. Well, lucky for you since MOZ posted a really helpful guide on switching to the secure site.
Moving to HTTPS – SEO checklist to preserve your rankings
- Make sure every element of your website uses HTTPS, including widgets, java script, CSS files, images and your content delivery network.
- Use 301 redirects to point all HTTP URLs to HTTPS. This is a no-brainer to most SEOs, but you’d be surprised how often a 302 (temporary) redirect finds its way to the homepage by accident.
- Make sure all canonical tags point to the HTTPS version of the URL.
- Use relative URLs whenever possible.
- Rewrite hard-coded internal links (as many as is possible) to point to HTTPS. This is superior to pointing to the HTTP version and relying on 301 redirects.
- Register the HTTPS version in both Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Use the Fetch and Render function in Webmaster Tools to ensure Google can properly crawl and render your site.
- Update your sitemaps to reflect the new URLs. Submit the new sitemaps to Webmaster Tools. Leave your old (HTTP) sitemaps in place for 30 days so search engines can crawl and “process” your 301 redirects.
- Update your robots.txt file. Add your new sitemaps to the file. Make sure your robots.txt doesn’t block any important pages.
- If necessary, update your analytics tracking code. Most modern Google Analytics tracking snippets already handle HTTPS, but older code may need a second look.
- Implement HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS). This response header tells user agents to only access HTTPS pages even when directed to an HTTP page. This eliminates redirects, speeds up response time, and provides extra security.
- If you have a disavow file, be sure to transfer over any disavowed URLs into a duplicate file in your new Webmaster Tools profile.
Well, that’s it for HTTPS migration. Goodluck!