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What you should know about HTTP to HTTPS Migration

The trend of migration to HTTPS became dominant when Google announced a minor boost in SEO rankings for migrated websites. The process can be complex, involves a lot of risk,s and is expensive. Still, considering the improved security and boost in rankings most websites are moving ahead with the shift.

There are several advantages in terms of SEO if you switch over to the HTTPS protocol:

Preserve Referral Data

If your site is HTTP and you are receiving traffic from an HTTPS site, then all the referral data attached to that traffic will be stripped off. The traffic appears as ‘direct’. This clearly affects your SEO ranking.

Hike in SEO Ranking

As Google confirmed, your page will have a higher ranking within search engines if you use HTTPS. But, studies show that this boost in ranking is not so pronounced and cannot be isolated from several other factors that contribute even more.

Overall security advancement

It prevents the man-in-the-middle attack. It also ensures the user that the website he/she is using; resides on the server they are actually communicating with. In addition, HTTPS confirms that all communication is encrypted.

Advantages aside, there are various post-migration issues that can affect your website. What most webmasters fail to do is set the HTTPS version of their site as the preferred one. Hence, the HTTP version can still be indexed by search engines. Resulting in two versions of the same site being live. This leads to three main problems:

1. Presence of duplicate content

It is a common error not to include the canonical tags that identify a webpage as a duplicate of another, to indicate that the two live versions are the same. This allows both versions to be indexed in a search result. Both versions may also self-canonicalize, which will also result in duplicate content.

2. Link dilution

Even if canonical tags are placed appropriately, the external links get split up between the two versions of the same page.

3. Wastage of search engine crawl budget

If both versions of a website are live, the search engines need to crawl both websites during a search. This makes it inconvenient if the websites are too large.

The best thing to do in order to tackle these issues is to set a 301 redirect from the HTTP version of the site to the HTTPS version.

What most sites do is use SSL security only for the checkout and registration pages, not for the entire website. Such a migration needs to be done by a team that has the right experience and expertise in SEO, SSL Certification, and migration. Our expertise in the matter can be utilized to identify your website with search engines and help migrate your website to make it more secure.

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