The vast number of users of the internet has also brought in the hackers by the hordes.
Studies show that cybercrime would lead to a cost of US$ 6 trillion globally by 2021. A data breach is bound to lower your brand value apart from a spate of lawsuits and regulatory action by government authorities.
According to research by Security Intelligence, the global average cost of a data breach is around US$ 3.92 million.
In this article, we will discuss one of the most in-demand security aspects of naming SSL certificates and how you can move your site to HTTPS without affecting your online presence.
Ideally, businesses to secure their website should buy cheap SSL certificates to encrypt the communication taking place between the visitor and the webserver.
Hence, it is an essential requirement to have an SSL certificate to keep your website safe from cyberattacks.
Does migration to HTTPS provide SEO brownie points?
In 2014, Google announced that they would prefer to have a safe internet. Towards this objective, they announced that the HTTPS websites would be given a boost in search engine rankings.
The number of HTTPS sites is increasing steadily, but still, there is a long way to go. Google states that they would make HTTPS a “lightweight signal”, that means if all factors are the same, the HTTPS websites will be ranked higher.
Points to consider when migrating to HTTPS
Doing some activities before the migration.
Before you migrate your site to the HTTPS platform, you must crawl the original website and visualize the structure of the site. You must understand the underlying technologies lying across the entire website.
You must make a list of all the programs, viz, APIs, external scripts, payment gateways, etc. that you must consider while migrating to the HTTPS platform.
Plan your activities
Before undertaking the migration activities, you must undertake a URL mapping exercise. It is especially critical for huge websites with hundreds of pages.
You can use a specialized website like Screaming Frog to list out all the URLs on your website. It will help you to migrate the site in its entirety without any errors.
It is equally essential to have a proper redirection plan. You must ensure that the redirects are done one by one to prevent any bulk actions from being done to irrelevant pages.
Changing the default URL
Once you have installed the SSL certificate, you have to ensure that the WordPress and the site address are changed to the HTTPS address.
To ensure this, you have to visit the WordPress dashboard and go to the Settings tab. You will find the General option there.
You must confirm that both the WordPress address and the site address are entered as the HTTPS URL. Once you save the changes, your work is done. After that, go to Settings>> SSL to verify the setting updated to SSL.
After that, check your HTTP URL in the browser and make sure it should redirect to the HTTPS version.
Setting up the 301 redirects
It is a critical activity in the entire migration process. The search engine has to index the migrated site, and there must be a semblance of a relationship between the earlier webpage and the redirected page.
The best way is to use a WordPress plugin or do it from the server. The 301 redirects will inform the search engine that the earlier page has moved to a new address.
Update in Google Analytics
To update the site’s URL in Google Analytics, you need to login to admin, Go to Property Settings, and change the drop-down to HTTPS under ‘Default URL’ settings.
Internal links in blogs
As a best practice, bloggers will do internal linking in their blogs. There may also be such instances in your product portfolio pages. It is essential to transfer all the HTTP links to the HTTPS platform.
The more internal linking more is the risk of missing out on one of them. It could lead to a mixed content error. You can use one of the several plugins that can help you to convert the backlinks to the HTTPS version easily.
Once you feel that you have transferred all the HTTP URLs to HTTPS, it helps to formally check whether there are still some URLs that need your attention.
It would help if you undertook a website audit to find out such errors. It must be ensured that all rel= canonical and hreflang attributes must point to the corresponding HTTPS pages only.
If your website has mixed content, there would be an exclamation mark in the address bar against the HTTPS website. You can use the Developer Tools and select the Console tab. Here you can get the URL/ (s) that is creating this issue.
Inform the Search Console about the change
You must inform the search engine about the change that has happened. You have to visit the Google Search Console and include the HTTPS version of the site.
To do this, go to the Google Search Console site >> click ‘Add Property’. After that, you should add a sitemap for HTTPS URL.
It is suggested that you set the preferred version to the HTTPS site once you have completed the entire installation and taken care of the other activities that are deemed necessary.
Additionally, it would help if you made the changes in the website analytics software that you are using.
Prevent any crawling issues
Once you have migrated the entire HTTP site to the HTTPS platform, it becomes necessary for you to make sure the search engines crawl through your website correctly. This is the reason why you must generate an XML sitemap once again. It must be resubmitted to Google.
Also, check whether the robots.txt is blocking your HTTPS pages. The HTTPS pages must also be checked for any no-index tags.
Now, the backlinks
Your SEO team must have undertaken a whole lot of backlinks to improve SEO juice. It becomes necessary to shift the HTTPS backlinks to HTTPS.
Even though the 301 redirects may be in place, you may still lose some of the link juice. The webmaster must also download the disavow file at the Google Search Console from the HTTP version and upload it into the HTTPS version.
Migrating the social share counts
Once you migrate to HTTPS, you would like to migrate the social sharing counts too. There is specific software that can allow you to do so.
While the migration of the counters too may turn out to be easy, but all the social share counts may not get migrated. It is where software like Shareholic can help you by finding out the missing shares, add them, and show the total.
Search engines like Google have been promoting HTTPS sites over HTTP ones. It becomes necessary for a business to buy cheap SSL certificates to shift to the HTTPS platform.
But the webmaster must undertake a host of activities to ensure a smooth transition. We have discussed them in this article, and we hope you will find them useful.