Welcome to the era of essential security when an HTTP must be locked with a green padlock. The locked HTTP is called HTTPS short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.
The addition of ‘secure’ indicates a safe transfer of information between the web browser and the server. The communication is fully encrypted which can’t be decrypted by any unauthorized party, even if the data is accessed.
Here is how Google classifies security of websites as of now:
- The green padlock icon before a URL indicates an HTTPS-enabled website that is safe to access and interact.
- A ‘not secure’ text before the website address tells it is HTTP. It can or can’t be secure.
- A dangerous or malicious site is identified with a red triangle in the address bar.
The advent of HTTPS has revolutionized the web industry by winning over user-confidence. Trends show that users continue on sites where they see the security badge. As a result, websites that use HTTPS succeed more than their counterparts.
Why upgrade to HTTPS in the first place?
Upgrading to HTTPS is a great way to improve the performance of your website and ultimately business.
It has been tested that websites running on HTTPS perform way better than those on HTTP. Reason?
Data security, greater technical support, and better SEO.
HTTPS provides amazing data security by encrypting the transmission of information between the parties involved. It builds greater trust among users and creates a safe and healthy environment for online business.
HTTPS is favorite among businesses because it supports awesome updates that improve website performance and speed. Take HTTP/2 for example.
Discussing the SEO factor
A couple of years back in 2014, Google announced to consider HTTPS as an SEO ranking factor.
Today, sites with the secure badge have 1% greater chance for better rankings. This concentration is expected to increase as more and more sites join the security cult.
8 tips for migrating your website to HTTPS
Migrating to HTTPS is not an uphill task, but it needs time and focused attention. You miss one step, and you may lose the hard-earned SEO power of your website. Therefore, it’s better to be vigilant and careful.
Follow the below steps in the proper order to successfully migrate your site to HTTPS.
1. Buy and install the SSL certificate
The first step towards migration is choosing the right SSL certificate for your personalized requirements. Three types of SSL certificates available. They are:
- Domain validation certificate can be sought within minutes. It only requires email validation.
- Business validation certificate takes 1-3 days for processing. It provides a good level of security and requires business verification.
- Extended validation certificate is the one that gives the green address bar with the company’s name. Given its greatest level of security, it the most expensive one. This SSL requires business verification and takes from 2 days to a week to be issued.
When you have received the certificate, install it. The set-ups can vary depending on the server that you are using. Here is a quick video about SSL installation on WordPress websites that might help.
After installation, also put the certificate through the SSL checking tools to make sure everything is in line. You might like to try SSL Server Test for the purpose.
2. Update internal, external, and hard-coded links to HTTPS
Now it's time to update all links to your new domain-type. You must ensure that all external links, social shares, third-party PPC URLs, email marketing software URLs, canonical tags, and hard-coded links direct audience to the new HTTPS version of your site.
If certain links are still outdated and lead to the HTTP version of the website, the SEO of your website may suffer.
3. Change custom or third-party scripts
If you have added additional scripts to your website like JS or AJAX libraries or scripts hosted by third parties, ensure that you update them all to HTTPS.
If you don’t, Chrome will display a content warning (depicted by a yellow triangle on the padlock) before your URL.
4. Run 301 redirects
301 redirects transfer 90-99% ranking power to the redirected page. They move your site smoothly to the HTTPS keeping intact the SEO integrity. So, run them at the server-level.
5. Update SSL certificate, origin URL, and HTTP/2 support on CDN
Next is to update your SSL certificate, origin URL, and HTTP/2 on the content delivery network (CDN). You can perform these actions by clicking ‘Zones’ in your KeyCDN dashboard.
6. Create ‘Google Search Console’ profile
Create a new Google Search Console profile after you are ready to use the new HTTPS. Don’t forget to submit your new disavow file in the profile.
After all major updates, enable Google to fetch and crawl.
If some pages are not directly connected to your homepage, you can still call for a Google crawl. For that, however, you must enter the URLs of those pages independently.
7. Update Google Analytics account
You also need to change your address from HTTP to HTTPS in your Google Analytics account. Do it by clicking on ‘Admins’, then move to ‘View Settings’.
8. Monitor changes and updates closely
It’s not the end.
Because of the complex nature of the migrating task, there is a great possibility of missing out some important things.
Therefore, go through the process again and mark checks in updates you have rendered already. When done, monitor the website’s performance closely.
Follow analytics, see the number of successful direct, and analyze traffic patterns and behaviors to get the clear picture. If there is an apparent change in performance, there may be something wrong. Fix it.
3 common obstacles to migration to HTTPS
There is no perfect recipe that ensures a smooth transition to HTTPS. There are certain obstacles that may pop in.
A few most common obstacles are:
1. Duplication issues
Often when redirections are not happening, people duplicate their content for HTTPS. This is where they go wrong. They shouldn’t. You shouldn’t. It will confuse Google and kill the SEO.
2. Google crawls
Sometimes, people prevent Google crawls from their HTTP pages. This usually happens when the test server is not updated to allow bots.
3. HTTP and HTTPS at odds
In some cases, the content on HTTP and HTTPS versions of the sites appears different.
A big reason to relook at the migration steps!
A successful migration from HTTP to HTTPS may lead to better user experience for your website visitors and improve rankings for your site in the SERPs. For the first couple of weeks, though, keep a close eye on any sudden rise or dip in traffic and links.