Migrate A Website To HTTPS / SSL

Migrate A Website To HTTPS / SSL

SEO Tips and Tricks

There’s never been a better time to migrate a website to HTTPS / SSL – the secure version of HTTP.  It comes with performance perks such as SEO advantages and increased security, not to mention the fact that Google is driving hard to make the internet a more secure place for everyone. If you’re unsure about how to do this, take a look at our guide on how to migrate a website to HTTPS / SSL.

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Preparation:

  1. Get a new version of your .htaccess ready with the redirect instruction to push all HTTP requests to HTTPS.
  2. Make sure you have a sane version of your robots.txt file ready for the move.
  3. Consider any existing 301 redirects – will they work automatically in the move? If you’re using a plugin or extension rather than .htaccess to do this – check that it works with HTTPS redirects – not all do!
  4. Prepare everyone involved with your website for the move, including external agencies working on Pay Per Click, SEO and social media. Ask if there’s anything they need to do as part of your migration to SSL.

Crunch time:

  1. Notify everyone involved of the change in advance.
  2. Implement SSL.
  3. Update your .htaccess.
  4. Annotate the change in Analytics so we can monitor any effects or issues either side of such a significant change.
  5. Test existing 301 redirects.
  6. Test, test, test.
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Post-change:

  1. Set up Webmaster Tools for the HTTPS version of the site (and make sure we’re added too!)
  2. Make sure your sitemap renders correctly with HTTPS URL(S).
  3. Update WMT with the sitemap location.
  4. Change all AdWords URL(S).
  5. Update any internal links which point to HTTP URL(S) (hopefully, you’re using contextual URL(S) so this won’t be an issue).
  6. Make sure all social media profiles are updated with the HTTPS URL(S).
  7. Update any queued / recycled social media posts with the HTTPS URL(S).
  8. Update any external links you have control of from other sites.
  9. Make sure any of your internal users update any bookmarks they might use to share on social media.

Most of the last section is low-priority and best practice, but not absolutely essential. The redirect would sweep most of the traffic up. It is worth doing these things properly and thoroughly if you can though.

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