A DIY Guide to Moving from HTTP to HTTPs and How it Impacts SEO

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How to migrate from HTTP to HTTPs?

This is the question I am being asked by people these days.

Well, let me help you.

Before going ahead, give answers to these questions.

  1. Do you think your website has nothing being hacked for?
  2. Do you want your website to load faster or server could use fewer resources?
  3. Or that you are searching for ways to get a boost to your rankings?

A site is not only prone to be hacked, defaced or data being stolen. Also, your server can be misused or can be hit by ransomware.

Anyone owning a website should think about its security. As far as you are concerned, you should give it the priority because your website is your business.

The need goes double if you accept payment through your website and customers insert their credit card details.

What If a hacker gets access to the customer’s account details just because you don’t take the proper steps to secure your website?  You betray their trust, don’t you?

This is why it is recommended to move from Http to Https as it secures websites. But remember that if your site will be running on both, http and https, it may cause content duplication issue and your site may be penalized by Google in near future.

A DIY Guide to Moving from HTTP to HTTPs

  1. First of all, get the valid SSL certificate. You can either get a paid certificate or a free certificate. Paid SSL certificate is available at the hosting company or a SSL certificate vendor. Free certificate can be attained from a free SSL certificate provider.
  1. Next, update all hard-coded links to HTTPS. It may be that you have hard-coded URL. In that case, you should do a full sweep on your site and database.
  1. Check for the Custom JS, AJAX Libraries as you need to update them when switching from http to https.
  1. Add 301 Redirects to new HTTPS URLs. ‘301 Redirects’ is the most effective and search engine friendly method in an HTTP to HTTPS migration. If you ignore it, it will badly affect your SEO rankings and your site will drop out of SERPs in hours.
  1. If we talk about On-Page SEO, robots.txt and sitemap play essential roles. They consist of website URLs too. Robots.txt contains sitemap.xml url and sitemap.xml consists of all website URLs. After the site migration, they continue to point to HTTP directories or files. It is, therefore, essential to update all websites URLs from robots.txt & Sitemap.xml. Once done, resubmit the HTTPS version of your updated Sitemap.xml in your Google Search Console profile.
  1. Set up a new Search Console Account then fetch and crawl your new HTTPs website

    Things to remember:
    “After migration from HTTP to HTTPS, website’s all URLs get changed completely. Search engine like Google will need to re-crawl this. In some cases, it many take weeks as the search engine re-crawls everything correctly. We suggest you to do a fetch and crawl on your new HTTPs website in order to get things done a little faster.”

  1. After you are done with all the above steps, it is advisable to update your Google Analytics Website’s URL. To do this, click into Admin under your account. View settings, then click the URL and modify it to the HTTPs version.

Please Note: During the migration process, you need to monitor everything. Double-check and triple-check to ensure whether everything is going smoothly. Even a minor error can spoil your website performance. There are many places where things may go wrong when switching to HTTPs.

How HTTPs Impacts SEO

One question that may be messing up your mind when migrating from HTTP to HTTPs site:

Will HTTPs affect the search engine ranking of the website?

The answer is: No, not so much.

Google gives a ranking boost to every type of HTTPs website, provided that you take proper steps and ensure your traffic doesn’t suffer. This means you need to communicate to Google about your move. For this, you should follow all the steps above properly while moving your website.

Besides protecting the privacy and security of your users or your site from potential security threats, HTTPs sites also gain a ranking boost from the search engine giant, Google. If your website is secure with HTTPs, it will gain a small ranking benefit. According to Search Engine Land, Google prefers HTTPs sites to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

Thus, shifting from HTTP to HTTPs is not a complex task if you follow the instructions above carefully. It also doesn’t have any negative impact on the search ranking if you get it done by experts.

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