Installing an SSL? Here’s a GREAT guide on how to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS.

With the performance benefits you now get from HTTP/2, there has never been a better time to thinking about moving your site to HTTPS; not to mention the additional security and SEO advantages. Below is a complete guide on how to migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS.

You’ll likely be more interested in the SEO benefits, considering HTTPS is now a lightweight ranking signal and that over time Google might continue to strengthen this signal. So running HTTPS can help benefit your SEO rankings.

 

 

 

What is an SSL or HTTPS?

Simply stated, an SSL is an extra layer of security (Secure Socket Layer) that makes your website more secure.  When an SSL is installed it activates the https protocol, as opposed to the unsecure http. An SSL offers 3 basic components –  Encryption, Data Integrity & Authentication.

An SSL protects the integrity & confidentiality of data between the visitor’s computer and the website. Users expect a secure and private online experience when using a website. And it’s the very reason why Google encourages websites to adopt the secure HTTPS in order to protect website visitor’s connection to a website, regardless of website’s content.

 

How do I get my website to show HTTPS?

You must obtain an SSL certificate as a part of enabling HTTPS for your site. The certificate is issued by a certificate authority, which takes steps to verify that your web address actually belongs to your organization,  protecting your customers from attacks. SSL’s can be purchased through just about any domain registrar like GoDaddy.   JW Designs, a Myrtle Beach Web Design company can help you with what SSL to purchase, as well as SSL setup, installation and migration.  The 3 main types of SSL’s are:

 

• Domain Validated certificates (DV)
• Organization Validated certificate (OV)
• Extended Validation certificates (EV)

 

 

Domain Validated certificates are certificates that are checked against domain registry. Extended/Organization validation shows your company’s name in the address bar.  These certificates are more expensive.   There are other options, such as UCC/SAN SSL’s and Wildcard SSL’s if you’re looking to secure your website along with all subdomains.  Consult with a Myrtle Beach Web Design Firm to find out which SSL you need.

 

** Important:  Google Chrome plans to distrust Symantec™ SSLs   |   Read More…

 

SSL’s generally run between $10-$50+/year.  You get what you pay for, so use a trusted certificate authority and obtain your SSL through a reputable provider, such as GoDaddy.   If you’re on a budget, you can check out Let’sEncypt™ , a nonprofit, free SSL certificate authority. However unlike normal SSL’s they have to be renewed & rekeyed every 90 days.  Forget to do that and expect your website to return a bunch of security errors, flags, and negative SEO results.

Regardless of which SSL you choose, remember that Google considers the new HTTPS version to be a “site move”, and so proper migration procedures need to be followed.   When Google announced that HTTPS websites would be a ranking signal, SSL providers everywhere were inundated by anxious website owners who just ended up destroying their search engine results, as well as their website’s reputability.  I mean, would you continue through a website that gave you a big red bold error?

Because of new protocols, the SEO benefits, and even more accurate referral data, there really has never been better time to get an SSL and migrate your website to HTTPS.

Website Migration? Say what?

So when an SSL is installed and your website is now showing the HTTPS protocol, the next step is to let Google know.  This is a vital part of installing an SSL, otherwise your Google rankings will plummet. This in part due to the fact that Google reads https and http URLS as two different websites.   That’s the bad thing.  It means Google will likely read your website(s) as having duplicate content.  A big SEO no-no!

For example:
   http://www.example.com
   https://www.example.com

Even further, Google can read each of these as separate websites:

  •  http://www.example.com  (http www)
  •  http://example.com (http non-www)
  •  https://www.example.com (https www)
  •  https://example.com (https non-www)

The goal is to pick one and just be consistent.  So when installing an SSL, you have two choices:  the “www” and “non-www”.   Google typically reads the unsecure http www and non-www sites as the same, no issues, unless a preferred domain is set on Google Search Console. 

Best to hire a professional.

Below is a guide that will walk the person through every necessary step in migrating your website from HTTP to HTTPS.   These steps need to be taken in order to maintain Google rankings in SERPs.   If you’re not familiar with the process it may be best to hire a web design company who has experience in migrating website’s following Google’s standards.

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