Considering the immense benefits of keeping your website secure, many website owners are ditching HTTP for the safer HTTPS and it’s great that you are thinking of doing the same too. However, you have to be careful to not lose all your web traffic as you move and in this article, you’ll see what you must avoid and what you must do.
- Make sure you 301 redirect all HTTP URL versions to the new HTTPS URLs without exception.
- Double check and be sure all your internal links point to the new HTTP URLs.
- Get your social media profiles updated with your new secure domain URL.
- Get your Google Analytics profile updated.
- Get your canonical tags updated and make sure they point to HTTPS URL versions.
- Get your sitemap updated with HTTPS URLs.
- Go to Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console to set your preferred domain.
- Map out all your new HTTPS URLs on a page-to-page level with the aim of achieving an exact duplicate URL structure.
- Make sure every single rel=canonical tag in your HTML points to the HTTPS version and not the old HTTP one. Changing them to the new HTTPS URLs helps Googlebot determine which version of a page to rank and which to drop.
- Make sure all new social shares and external links point to the new secure version of your URLs. This is to ensure there is no confusion about which version of your site should be ranking. Google may get confused if you continue to get links to the HTTP site and you will lose out on the potential benefits of those links.
- Be sure to watch as your Webmaster Tools account post goes live, and to be certain you are aware if an issue pops up with your new secure website, you must keep monitoring it.
- Don’t use 302 redirects.
- Don’t have the HTTP and HTTPS versions of your site live at the same time as it can result in link dilution even if you have canonical tags in place. Also, users will be able to see both versions of your site in SERPs and link to them which really isn’t best practice.
- Don’t use a wild card redirect or a global redirect to 301 redirect everything to your home page unless you want to destroy all your rankings in on swoop.