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Mixing Your WWWs & HTTPs and Why Your Traffic Has Dropped

At Crescent Digital, we are regularly called in to  perform website audits following a drop in visitors. Over the past 18 months, we have seen more sites moving towards using HTTPS encryption following Google’s announcement of using  HTTPS as a ranking signal (1).

why-https-bad for SEO

However, when adopting HTTPS  incorrectly, you will likely see your search traffic suffer.

Clients are absolutely correct to adopt https for their websites as although the ranking increase may be relatively minor, the reassurance to clients that your website is safe and secure will help increase engagement.

Why Mixing Your HTTP & HTTPS is a Bad Thing To Do

Google & other search engines see www, non-www, http & https versions of websites as separate sites each with its own trust & authority.  

domains and SEO

According to Google (2), technically all of the following urls and domains are different:

  • http://www.yourdomain.com
  • http://yourdomain.com
  • https://www.yourdomain.com
  • https://yourdomain.com

Your website’s domain will have earned trust & authority which will directly affect where it appears within the organic search results. However, your new https prefixed domain will likely have none, meaning a big drop in search engine trust, authority, rankings and ultimately traffic following the change. In addition, the search engines will not know which version of your site to show in the results when users are searching because they will be seen as duplicates.

What To Do

Having established that Google sees www, non-www, http & https versions of websites as separate domains, diluting any search authority, it is critical to configure your site correctly and there are several critical factors configurations to consider:

  • Set-up permanent redirects to redirect any visitors and search engine spiders towards your one preferred domain.
  • Set-up permanent redirects to redirect any old pages (particularly those with a large volume of links & social shares) to the corresponding pages on the new domain / site. This will likely be achieved using the htaccess file if using Apache web server.
  • Configure Google Search Console in order to set your preferred domain.

What Not To Do

Please do not use the URL Removal Tool to remove old web pages or domains as you can end up removing your whole domain for 6 months. With redirections configured correctly, the search engines will understand and within time start to show the appropriate results.

References

HTTPS as a ranking signal https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html

Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO – https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-url-canonicalization/

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stevenba

Certified Google Partner and Chartered Institute of Marketing Accredited Digital Marketing Specialist.

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Recent Comments

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    Verena

    |

    Thanks for the explaination. I did everything accordingly, and now waiting for the 24h to pass for it to show up in my Analytics. However, the small one-sentence confirmation is not appearing anymore, when someone fills in the contact form on our website. Could you please give some input on how to fix this?

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    stevenba

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    Unfortunately not I’m afraid. It does vary with the type of activity and LinkedIn frequently change their policies, but at present, LinkedIn’s maximum is 30 days.
    Regards
    Steve

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    N_jarolmasjed

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    Is there any possibility to see all my updates in linkedin from the bigining?I had been linkedin member for about 3 years or so and .I had shared simething that I need it now and unfortunately I lose to have them any where else they were gone. I’d have been grateful if you can guide me
    Many thanks