The issue of personal and private data is one that is becoming increasingly important. There are numerous reasons behind this, one of them being that hackers and cybercrimals are becoming more skilled at stealing personal details, and another is that there have been numerous reports of websites and social media platforms sharing personal data without users’ knowledge or approval.
It is therefore not surprising to hear that Google will soon be using HTTPS as a ranking signal in their algorithms. What is surprising though is how much skill and knowledge is required for migrating a site from HTTP to HTTPS without affecting SEO or user experience. This is why Gravytrain’s Digital Marketing Director Helene Hall recently wrote an article for Fourth Source outlining how webmasters can make their sites secure in a few simple steps.
At the beginning of her article Helene points out that: “The ranking factor is only a very “lightweight signal” and is “less weight” when compared to the Panda signals,” however she goes on to add that she predicts more significance will be added to it over time. Digital marketers who want to stay ahead of the game therefore need to start planning the migration of their sites, which Helene points out will likely need the assistance of web developers.
Before delving into the processes of migrating to HTTPS, Helene provides a short glossary in order to explain some key terms including TLS, CPU, TCP and ‘Keep Alives’. Once you have a greater understanding of what each of these terms mean you will be able to create a secure site and then migrate to this site without harming your SEO.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to any form of site migration is that your redirects need to be set up properly. By using a mixture of relative URLs, canonical redirects and HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), you will be able to provide your users a secure website that is still SEO friendly and has an acceptable site speed.
Naturally, when it comes to any form of site changes and your rankings in Google, Google Webmaster Tools is essential. After you have migrated to an HTTPS website you will need to check that Google is deindexing and indexing your HTTP and HTTPs sites respectively. You will also have to verify both versions of the site in GWT as it will consider them as separate.
This article has only scraped the surface of Helene’s guide to migrating from HTTP to HTTPS, so if you want to know more make sure you read her article in full on Fourth Source.
If you would like to know more about the benefits of creating a secure site or how Gravytrain can migrate your current website to HTTPS please contact us.
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