Https and SEO. Should you make the switch from http?

Should you make the switch to https from http?

Last updated: February 8, 2018

There is a lot of discussion lately on whether or not sites should switch to https. I wanted to write an article to talk about the SEO implications of switching. In some cases sites can make the switch easily with no obvious effects on their rankings and traffic. But, in other cases, the switch can cause serious issues.

My goal in this article is to discuss the potential risks that an https migration can pose to SEO, and also to help you minimize those risks should you make the switch. At the end of this article, I’ll talk about the idea that Google may take a whole new, more strict look at your site in terms of quality for pages that migrate to https.

This week, Google sent out a large number of warnings that looked like this:

Starting in October of 2017, every site that collects user information via a <form> in HTML over http will have a warning appear next to the url bar when someone starts to fill out the form:

Eventually, this “Not Secure” warning will appear on all http sites, not just those that are collecting information.

Update: The day is here…Google announced that as of July, 2018, all http sites will receive this warning…not just http sites gathering form information.

Will sites that are not secure get the big full screen warning?

We have all seen those big full screen warnings when we try to visit a non-secure page that looks something like this:

https full screen warning in chrome

From what I can tell so far, however, this type of ominous warning is not what Google is talking about in their new announcement. Rather, it is just the “Non-Secure” warning in the url bar that will happen.

But who knows if this will be the case in the future?

Is Https a ranking factor?

In August of 2014, Google announced that https is a ranking signal. This caused a spike in the number of websites that made the jump from http to https. If Google tells you something is a ranking signal, then it makes sense to make the change!

However, just a month later, Google’s John Mueller said in a hangout, “I wouldn’t expect any visible change when you move from http to https, just from that change, for SEO reasons. The ranking effect is very small and very subtle. It’s not something where you will see a rise in rankings just for going to https.” 

He did say that in the future Google may make https a stronger ranking factor, but for now, making the switch to https is not something that is likely to directly help improve your rankings.

In my opinion, https is a tiny, tiny ranking signal at this time.

Why switch to https

I’m by no means a security expert and I’m not about to try and explain the security risks that go along with running a site on http. This post on the Google Developer’s blog does a good job of explaining in layman’s terms why https matters. I would highly suggest that you read it. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here are the points which I thought were important:

  • Https helps prevent intruders from tampering with communication between users and your website. Examples include intruders injecting their own ads into your site or tricking users into installing malware.
  • Https is a requirement for many new browser features such as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).

We also don’t know how users will react to the “non-secure” warning. If enough people start abandoning sites with this warning, then this could result in a drop in engaged visitors which possibly could result in a drop in rankings as well.

If you’re looking for more information on the security implications of http vs https, I would highly recommend reading through posts on Troy Hunt’s website.

I really do think that most sites should make the switch to https. However, there are some potential SEO risks that go along with this switch.

Potential SEO risks when switching to Https

I do a lot of traffic drop assessments for sites that are having trouble ranking as well as expected. One of the common assessments I do is for sites that have seen a drop in traffic after making the switch from http to https. Here are some of the issues that I have seen that can cause a site to perform poorly after making the switch:

Domain level canonicalization issues

When you make the switch to https, you need to make sure that all variants of your site redirect to the correct https version. I have seen some sites where perhaps the http://www version of a site redirects to the correct https page, but if you type in http:// without the www, you’ll end up on a non-secure page. It is important to make sure that no matter how someone tries to access your site, they end up on the correct https version.


Failure to redirect urls properly

When you switch to https you need to make sure that each url 301 redirects to its https equivalent. I have seen sites where the home page properly redirects to the https version, but the inner pages do not. If you have links pointing to the http version of a page and you’re not redirecting that page to the https version, then you may lose the benefit that comes from those links. Now, in some cases, Google may be able to figure out that the http version is a canonical of the https version and properly attribute the flow of PageRank that should go to the https page. But, as much as possible, we don’t want to rely on Google to just figure things out.

If you have both your http and your https pages live, then this can result in duplicate content. If you have a small site, this may not matter too much as Google should figure out which page is best to rank and just rank that one. But, if you have a large site, then this gives Google twice the number of pages to crawl which will eat up your crawl budget and can possibly result in Google not spending as much time crawling your high quality pages.

This also can result in a dilution of the PageRank that flows to your site if you have some links pointing to the http version of a page and some to the https version.


Failure to update canonicals

The canonical tag tells search engines which page is the version that we want indexed. If your https page has a canonical tag that points to the http version, that may end up confusing search engines. Again, Google can usually figure this type of thing out, but not always.


Failure to update internal links

If you make the switch to https, you also need to update internal links so that they point to https versions. Now, if all of your internal links are relative (i.e. /page1 as opposed to then this step can be skipped. But, if your internal links are absolute links pointing at http pages, then these have to follow redirects before they get to the final page. It is widely believed that every time a redirect has to be followed, there is a slight reduction in PageRank that flows through that link.

However, this may be a moot point as John Mueller from Google recently said that when you redirect http to https there is no loss in PageRank.


Mixed content issues

This shouldn’t really result in a loss of rankings, but it still is an important issue. If you have an https page, but you’re using images or scripts that are hosted on http pages, then you’ll still get the “non-secure” warning. As such, when you switch to https you need to comb through every page of your site to make sure that this is not happening.


Sitemaps need to be updated

When you switch to https, make sure that you create a new sitemap as well. Again, Google can probably figure things out if you don’t, but as stated before, we don’t want to continually rely on Google to get things right.


Disavow file needs to be loaded to https

Google still treats the https and http versions of a site as different sites and if you’re using Google Search Console, you’ll need to create a new property for your https version. If you have a disavow file, you’ll need to upload that to your https version. If you don’t, then you’re essentially re-avowing all of the links that you spent hours and hours disavowing.


Make sure your certificate doesn’t expire

If your site is running on https and your security certificate expires, then, when Google tries to send visitors to your site they’ll get the big full screen warning I mentioned above. This will most definitely turn people away.


Don’t keep your https pages hidden

I have seen some sites that have pages that are visible on https but they still haven’t fully made the switch to https. This is a not a problem unless Google finds those https pages. So, let’s say that your entire site is on http, but someone links to an https page. And let’s say that that https page links internally to other https pages on your site. If Google can find https pages, and, if no canonical version is specified, Google will index the https version.

In one example where I saw this, the site had pages that could resolve on https, but they didn’t have an active security certificate. When Google found the https pages, they started listing those in the search results. If someone clicked on one of those results, they would end up getting a big red full screen warning that the site was not secure (because the site didn’t yet have a security certificate.)

If this happens to you, where you have https pages accessible, but you still want to operate on http for now, the way to fix this is to make sure that your https pages have a canonical tag pointing to the http pages. This will tell Google that the http version is the one that you want to have indexed in search. It would also help to 301 redirect the https versions to the http version.

Or…you could just bite the bullet and get a security certificate and make the https versions the canonical!


Other Non-SEO related pitfalls to switching to https

There are some other possible concerns for sites that switch to https:

Potential reduction in Adsense revenue

If your site makes money from Adsense, you may see a drop in revenue after switching to https. In 2014, when Barry Schwartz switched Search Engine Round table to https he saw a 35% reduction in Adsense revenue.

However, according to Google, this issue has been fixed. In the past, the reduction in Adsense revenue happened because there were a large number of ads that were incompatible with https. Apparently, this is not the case anymore. Google’s documentation on Adsense and SSL no longer contains the line that used to say, “please be aware that because we remove non-SSL compliant ads from the auction, thereby reducing auction pressure, ads on your HTTPS pages might earn less than those on your HTTP pages.”

With that said, however, just recently, in August of 2017, Crunchify saw a 10% reduction in Adsense revenue after making the switch.

If you have an Adsense driven site and you have switched to https I would love for you to leave a comment and let us know whether the switch resulted in a change to your Adsense income.

It is important to note that if you switch from http to https you also need to update your Adsense code or else you’ll get the mixed content issues described above.


Potential loss in social shares

It’s not uncommon to see a site lose all of their social share counts when switching to https. That fantastic article that amassed tens of thousands of Facebook likes can reset to zero after an https migration. Rae Dolan, who is really good at SEO, has a great article explaining how she switched to https and then ended up losing all of her social share counts.

Facebook’s documentation explains a workaround for this that involves setting the meta og:url tags to point that the old http url. However, it says that this only works if the old url returns a 200 response. If we’re redirecting http pages to https pages then our “old” pages are going to return a 301, not a 200.

There are many workarounds to help people regain social shares, but from what I can see it’s not a simple process.

As such, if you switch to https, you may end up resetting all of your social shares to zero.


A switch to https can possibly cause Google to re-evaluate your site in terms of quality

This is my biggest concern in making an https migration. You won’t see this written about much, but in my experience in reviewing sites that have dropped after switching from http to https, I think that there is great cause for concern for any site that has potential quality issues.

When we switch to https, Google sees this as a site move. This may possibly mean that all pages on the site get a fresh evaluation in terms of quality.

I would like to share a real life example with you that helps to explain my point. About six months ago I was approached for emergency help for a business that saw their rankings for their main keyword plummet after a switch to https. Other pages were ranking fine, but rankings for any searches containing this keyword were abysmal.  After reviewing the site, it appeared that they had done everything correctly. The redirects were correct. Internal links were correct. Canonicals were correct. I couldn’t find any mistakes that would cause a ranking drop.

Next, I started to review the site for quality issues. When I read the home page it was extremely keyword stuffed. My first thought was, “How on earth was this page ranking for this keyword before?”

I believe that when the switch to https happened, the home page got a new evaluation in the eyes of the keyword stuffing algorithm. I also believe that Google’s quality algorithms are more strict for new pages.

We went to work rewriting this page and were able to cut the keyword use down from more than 200 times to fewer than 20. As the keyword stuffing algorithm is one that reruns each time it evaluates a page, we were hopeful for seeing quick results. We resubmitted the page to the index and within 12 hours it was once again ranking in the first position for their main keyword.

Now, it is possible that the changes we saw were coincidental. It is not uncommon for a site to see a temporary dip in rankings after switching to https. (That dip can last a few days, weeks, or even months if it is a very large site.) However, the fact that the drop seemed to affect just one page for one keyword makes me really think that this was due to Google re-evaluating the page in terms of keyword stuffing.

I believe that this happens for Panda, Penguin and other quality algorithms as well. As such, if you have a site that is potentially on the edge in terms of quality, I think that there is cause for hesitation when considering switching to https.

How would you know if you are “on the edge” in terms of quality?

If you’re actively engaged in blackhat SEO methods, or if you know that you are relying on tricks and loopholes in order to rank well, then I’d consider your site to be on the edge in terms of quality. I think that it is possible that a switch to https could trigger a new fresh look at your site from a quality perspective should you switch to https. It is possible that those tricks and loopholes that you used previously no longer work as well after an https shift.

But what if you are not using https? One thing that I would suggest is to have a good look at your Google organic traffic to see if you can find obvious ups and downs that coincide with known or suspected algorithm updates.

To do this, you can go to Google Analytics and then go to Acquisition –> All Traffic –> Source/Medium. Then, click on Google/organic. See if you can find any fluctuations that correspond to the algorithm changes that I’ve written about in my Google algorithm update list. For example, this site had drops that coincide with core quality updates:

Quality Drops

Even if you’re seeing drops that are not as exaggerated as the ones shown above, then I think that you have cause for concern when it comes to switching to https. If Google is seeing some quality issues in your site, I believe that it is possible that those issues could be viewed from a more strict standpoint if the pages get a new evaluation because they’ve switched to https.

Important: It is important to note that this idea that Google re-evaluates sites or pages in terms of quality after switching to https has not been proven. It is a theory that I have based on reviewing several sites that dropped after switching to https despite the fact that they did everything correctly.

Would *I* switch my sites to https?

After saying all of this scary stuff about what could go wrong in terms of SEO when switching to https, I still do believe that most sites should take the leap and migrate from http to https.

If you’re starting up a new site, start it on https right away, just like we did with our Wix SEO site.

If you have an eCommerce site, a site that collects credit card info, or a site that requires people to login, I’d make switching to https a priority as well.

Otherwise, my recommendation for most site owners is to start making a plan to switch to https at some point in the next year or two. I feel that the “non-secure” warning in the url is probably not a huge deal right now. But, it’s likely going to become a bigger deal. Other than the push to become mobile friendly, we haven’t seen Google be this vocal about too many things. Google is pushing strongly to get sites to switch to https and they’re going to continue with this push.

I have shared with you the potential SEO pitfalls of an https migration. But, in all honesty, most sites that make the switch do just fine. Https is quickly becoming the norm and in most cases, if you have been doing a good job of keeping up with current practices, you should not see a drop in search engine traffic after switching to https.

I run a site with several thousand pages that I built myself about ten years ago. It’s happily running on http right now, but I plan to make the switch to https soon. The site relies heavily on Adsense and has a large number of social shares, so I’ll monitor what happens and I’ll keep you updated.

If you would like to stay notified when I make these changes, you can follow me on Twitter, or better yet, subscribe to my Google Updates Newsletter.


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Share This Article
  1. How’s you site doing so far after the switch? Does it affect your traffic and adsense?

    • I haven’t actually switched the site yet that I talk about in this article. It hopefully will be done this year, and I will for sure report on what happens.

      • Thanks for your reply but are you not worried about the October update?

        • The October update will cause a nonsecure warning to appear when someone fills out a form on the site. For this particular site, that doesn’t happen too often. As such, it’s a lower priority for me.

          Also, even though this site is a good money maker, it’s also a good test site. I’m going to leave it as it is so that I can report on whether or not it sees a significant drop with https updates.

      • I have a directory for vacation rentals. I link to and from each of the pages listed… some of the property pages have a unique url and others (most) are just files on the home site. The contact form on the pages are directed to my home page http:// hosting and http is not available with that host of 20 years. Is this why my https:// is useless (can’t get it to work) unless remove all links to webpages that are not https?

  2. Hello, October is here, and some of my clients are still running on http. Google SC scared me with announced warning. But it is surprising, I can´t see any changes. The warning does not happen. Is it working anywhere? Thank you.

    • Hi Jan,

      This change will take effect with Chrome 62. My Chrome (which is currently up to date) is still on version 61. I am assuming that at some point in October 62 will come out and the warnings will happen.

  3. Hey, how are you ?

    i’m facing a ranking drop after changed to https on last week.
    i’m ranking in 2º position of google and two days after implement ssl, the main keyword is going down every day, now at 19º position.

    • Hi Antonio,

      Sometimes it can be normal to see a drop after switching to https. It can take weeks or even months (if your site is big) to recover. Still, if you are not seeing recovery I’d want to make sure that you have properly redirected your old urls to your new ones.

      If things don’t improve, and if your redirects are good, then you may need a more thorough investigation into the site to determine what the problems could be.

  4. Mam,When i migrated http to https,then ads on the all posts are removed, why and how can i fix it

    • That’s an odd issue. If your code to display ads links to an http resource, then this can cause a mixed content warning which would result in the page being shown as insecure. But, it should not cause ads to be removed.

      This sounds like something that needs to be investigated more deeply. I can’t think of an obvious reason for this to happen.

  5. If have done everything right then how much time it will take to recover my lost traffic? Thanks

    • That’s really tough to say without doing a thorough assessment. I’d say that in general, a small to medium site should see some turbulence for a week or two and then return to normal rankings. A larger site could take a few months.

      If you’re not seeing a return to normal levels, then I would be concerned that perhaps Google has reassessed the site in terms of quality.

  6. Mam, Is there any need to create again new ad units in adsense after migration?

    • While I do have some Adsense experience, it’s not my area of expertise. But, you really should be ok. With that said, if your Adsense imbed code links to the http version of Google, you’ll need to update those links to https.

  7. After switching to https I immediately had a small drop of around 15% of traffic. I think it’s normal but I think the sites in https are less fast in loading than sites in http. What do you say? Thank you 😉

    • It’s quite common to see a drop of this magnitude immediately after migrating to https. In *most* cases, these losses are recovered within a few days to weeks (or possibly months for really big sites.)

      In my opinion, the drop is quite unlikely to be related to speed loss after the migration. While some sites can be demoted for low page load time, it is usually only for VERY slow sites. The migration shouldn’t cause that much difference.

  8. I have done lots of work in seo. Now i am thinking to move to https. After going through your article i came to know about many things. I will take care of all these points and hope it will not effect the seo ranking.

    • It will always affect negatively rankings… recovery? mmmm I have to be patient.

      • Lots of sites switch to https and do not see a drop in rankings. My view of things is a little skewed, because people come to me when there are problems and not when things went well. 🙂

  9. Hi Marie,

    Great post; thanks!

    We migrated our 2000 page site to https 1 week ago and are seeing a drop in organic rankings/traffic ~15% beginning 3 days ago.

    Gary @ Google said last year that http to https migrations should not experience any organic traffic drops. Based on your comments above, I guess you notice otherwise, and our 15% drop may be normal? Whats the average amount of time for us to recover our rankings assuming there are no issues with quality or the migration please?

    Also, 90% of the http pages have been dropped from the index, and most of the https pages have been added.
    2/3 of the http pages that remain are from the same directory, and are the same type of content. Some of these pages rank well and others don’t. Do you see a reason for this; maybe a quality issue? Or should we remain patient? These pages account for a very small percentage of the overall site.

    Thanks a lot :))


    • Without taking a deep look, I would say to give it some more time. It’s not uncommon to see a drop after migrating to https, even if things are done correctly. If you are still down in a month or two, then I’d be concerned.

      • Thanks for your help Marie. I believe that we have dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s, so hopefully we will see a bounce back at some point.

        Strangely, Search Console is showing that our average position and CTR have stabilized to pre-https levels for our https pages, but the impression count has dropped, and its mostly main keywords and not long tail so its fairly easy to spot. Search volume/impressions should not be down though based on historical seasonality so I’m not sure how much to trust the search console stats?

        Also, our HTTP pages have been steadily decreasing from Google’s index, however, today we are seeing a jump from 50 http pages remaining (yesterday) to 230 pages. Is this normal?

        Thanks again!

      • Hi Marie – thanks for your reply – our main issue is that our http pages seem to be returning to the index. They were down to 50/2000 and now up to 1550/2000. Many queries are now showing our http pages vs. the https pages even though most of the https pages are indexed, and https pages were showing in the results over the past few days. Any idea what the issue might be please? tyvm!

  10. Hi Marie- can redirect chains cause ranking drops in the long/short? Specifically, old urls that have good inbound links that 301 to another http page which then 301s to a https page?

    • They shouldn’t cause a problem unless you have more than 5 hops. With that said, if you redirect pages that have spammy links, those links will now be pointing at the new page, so that is something to look at.

  11. Hello Marie,
    I migrated to https yesterday and did everything right but now Adsense ads in many pages are not showing.. The rectangular ads are blank😱 The codes I use are the new ones which support both http and https, I don’t have idea of what the problem could be. Any idea?

    Many thanks 🙂

    • My apologies, but Adsense implementation is not my area of expertise. Hopefully you were able to fix this!

  12. Hello- we moved from http to https but just realized that we did not 301 correctly resulting in 2-3 extra redirect hops. Our traffic dropped 20-25% in about 3 weeks. Could these extra hops be the reason? We just fixed the issue today and hoping for a rebound.

    What do you think please?

    • Extra hops should be avoided, but really shouldn’t cause big problems unless there are more than 5 as that’s the most Google will follow.

      It’s not uncommon to see temporary drops like this after an https migration. It can take weeks or even months for a large site, to get back to normal rankings.

  13. Hi Marie, I did the switch like you describe and it went without a hitch. I got a guy who just only does migrations off a popular freelancer site and he charged a few hundred pounds.

    I’d like to echo the sentiment that you’ll not have problems if you’re newer, better quality and on the smaller side.

    I have a question. Why is a small amount of traffic still going to the HTTP version? Like 22 users out of 1000 a day?

    Thanks in advance. Ed.

    • Hi Ed. If you’re seeing this in GSC I think this is a bit of a glitch as I see it a lot on many sites.

      One thing you can do to check and see if perhaps you still have http pages indexed is search for -inurl:https.

  14. Great article Marie!

    Love the in depth insights.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  15. Hi Marie congrats for the aricle, Is really good and a serious subject for those who managed a profitable website.
    I read from you that large sites can take until months to get normal rankings, We have a really large site (more than 350.000 url´s) and do the migration in October 2017, we have experienced a big drop about 25% and it continues until now. It can be possibly?

    • At seven months post migration, I really would expect that things should have settled by now. If you are certain that everything was done correctly in terms of redirects, disavow, and the other things mentioned in this article, then I am worried that you may have had a new assessment of quality. With 350,000 urls, are all of these super high quality? Sites with this many pages often have a lot of thin content.

      • I´m pretty sure that in terms of redirects all was do correctly. Our biggest problem is the quantity of text in our urls, it is barely poor. Because our quality content are images…. techical images to download.

  16. I personally was faced with the same experience two years ago. But at the time I was running a free hosted blog. So I didn’t switch the website to https but blogger automatically switched my website from HTTP to https. I didn’t experience any effect since my visitors who still visited my website using HTTP were still redirected to my blog which had an https link.

    I also very much agree with you that https prevent intruders from scamming users through your website. This is because I find that when I try to visit sites with HTTP link, I always get a warning that the site is not secured. I very much appreciate you for sharing the risks involved when switching to https.

  17. Thank you so much for a thorough, easy to understand and informative article! I run a Greek site on health and fitness with plenty of SEO articles that drive the main traffic of the site with a lot of images and inbound links, and I find this https change really scary and complicated!

  18. Interesting article. I have around 100 sites and so far so good but one has totally fallen off the google map after the httpS upgrade.

    In search console, is it best to keep the original http sitemap alongside the new httpS one for a while? I’m concerned there can be too long a gap with the original sitemap gone and the new one not indexed.

  19. Your article is the best I’ve come across about the pros and cons of switching from http to https, so thank you.

    I was wondering if you have switched your site yet – the one with thousands of pages that relies heavily on Adsense? And if so, if you saw a drop in traffic or not?

    • Thanks!

      Sadly, I have not had time to switch my own site. Client work always comes first. Realistically, this may not happen for quite some time.

  20. Hi,

    Excellent article.

    I’m planning migrating the site from http to https? Can anyone recommend changes required in Webmaster after the migration?

    I’ve created the to-do list:

    1) Add https version as a new site
    2) Create new sitemap

    Do I need to also make following changes:

    1) Inform google using Change of Address
    2) Submit all the pages using the tool Fetch as Google?
    3) A/B Testing
    4) Check robots.txt after migration

    Any more changes needed in Webmaster or Google Analytics?


  21. Very useful article, I switched to https witout being aware of the pitfalls and suffered greatly, I have now followed the steps above and waiting for things to hopefully fix themselves, having just switched to https and doing nothing else virtually all pages vansished from google!! the only thing im not clear about if I have done correctly is the 301 redirect, im not even sure how i tell ive done this correctly?? alo what is a disavow file?

  22. Hello, thanks for such a useful article. recently I transfer my site HTTP to HTTPS but still, it shows HTTP on SERP approx how much time it will take turn my links to https in SERP? or should I make any changes on webmaster?

    • It can take several weeks or even months for Google to figure everything out. It depends on the size of your site.

      You do need to have your https version set up on Google Search Console. Also, once you have all of your http to https redirects in place, you can ask Google to recrawl the http site and this may help them pick up the changes more quickly.

  23. Hello Madam, Please help regarding Https migration, I have added property for https, linked sitemap, it indexed 96/126,,when I type southindiatoursandtravels in google, it showing my company name, but when i type south india tours and travels,,google not listing,,it listed before 1 month when i used http version,, its because of indexing pending in 30 pages /what

    • This sounds like an issue that needs some consultation to sort out. I’m booked for now, but if you fill out my contact form my team could connect you with a good consultant to help figure this out.

  24. My websites have migrated to https almost a year ago. Having starded with in 1997, I have over 2000 pages on 10 conservation websites with pages in 6 languages. Every page has a carefully chosen and tested specific search word combination. After switching, google systematically continues referring to the http page, while bing does it correctly, but bing produces hardly any hits.

    The sitemap is correctly in https. Is there a message I can put into the bot file to direct google into the right direction?

    It is undoable to do a 301 redirect to 2000+ pages. Most pages have 10-100 social shares in https.

    If one codes canonical redirects, then one loses the pictures in the twitter card references in twitter, which generate a lot of twitter reactions. So I don’t like doing that, but it is an option. Yet, it is a 2000 pages job………..

    Having worked on my websites for more that 20 years, I have quite a bit of SEO experience, although I don’t make my business out of it. (too busy saving the world, for advising others on this)

    Any thoughts on what else to do?

    • Sounds like a complicated situation. If Google is finding http pages, it may be that there are internal links pointing to http versions?

  25. Great article thank you.
    Just switched to https and redirect 301 root url and 1 day later google indexed as https url but site dropped in serp rankings about 2-3 pages and some of the urls are not even on the list. Also I’m wondering about old backlinks from other websites with http links. They still have benefits?

    • It’s pretty common to see a temporary drop immediately after switching. It can last days, weeks or even months for big sites.

      Links from http sites should still be treated the same as from https. However, I do believe that many links are being ignored by Google…not just http links, but links in general.

  26. I migrated my blog from HTTP to HTTPs about a month ago and there is huge drop in traffic and almost no earring from Adsense. I wish I had read your article before migrating my blog since I missed uploading sitemap for the HTTPs version and updating internal links. It’s all kind of a mess right now but hope everything will be okay soon.

    Thanks for this wonderful article.

  27. Hello, thanks for this wonderfully written informative blog post about HTTPS and SEO and the risks of making the switch from http to https. Since i have not yet implemented it on my sites, but as per Google’s Algorithm this is another major SEO ranking signal that need to be shorted out as soon as possible. The things you have shown above are really helpful for anyone who is looking for migrating from http to https version without looking anything. Your post is really helpful for me. Keep up the great work!

  28. Thanks for this wonderful article. Tried your command to find HTTP links that aren’t redirecting and found 4.

  29. Thanks for the non-technical article on the technical topic.
    One thing to possibly add is that also all 3rd party apps need to support http and all sources (files, images) you pull from 3rd party site need to comply to prevent – mixed content – messages.

    Great article,

  30. Wondering if you had a chance to switch your site yet and if you saw any changes in traffic and/or adsense revenue after?

    • Ah, sadly I never got around to this. I do one day hope to be able to spend time on that site again, but it’s low on my list of priorities right now unfortunately.

  31. Your article is the best I’ve come across about the pros and cons of switching from http to https, so thank you.

    I was wondering if you have switched your site yet – the one with thousands of pages that relies heavily on Adsense? And if so, if you saw a drop in traffic or not?

    • Sadly, I never did switch that site. Got too focused on growing our SEO consulting business and have not worked on most of my own sites!

  32. Genuinely when someone doesn’t know afterward its up to other users that they will assist, so here it occurs.

  33. I faced the same issue with my website few years back, where few of my web pages were https and few were not. So whenever the user were to visit http versioned page of my website, they see that warning sign.
    One of my user told me about the same after some time, then I hired some SEO expert to resolve the issue.
    Thanks a lot for covering this topic.

  34. Hi Marie,
    i am using free ssl provided by cloudflare. it shows https before my domain. i know they only override the http.
    is it any benefit of using this type of ssl ?

  35. Such an informative article. There is no need to read any other article related to this topic.
    Thank you so much for your effort.

  36. I made the change with my hosting company and its become a disaster. The site loads on both http and https but there is nothing but gobbledegook on the https url and and the http url loads like a snail.

    • Oh no…that doesn’t sound good. In most cases, switching to https is not as simple as just having your host press a button. There are so many other things that need to be done such as changing internal links to point to https, changing canonicals, and so much more. Let us know if you are interested in consultation to help.

  37. Great work as always Marie! One take-away is the fact that users and customers will not submit their debit card details or even share contact info for lead gen, when there is the conspicuous “Not Secure” sign on their browser. Especially when browsers redirect to the big warning page and you have to manually continue to the “unsafe” website.

    In a digital era where, privacy and security are constant threats to online experience, it is imperative to buy the certificate, even if just for the sake of keeping up with the times. An e-commerce store that can’t afford a certificate is a red flag for me. I won’t even sign in my PayPal.

    When I audit my clients’ websites, the first point of call is the https upgrade. Perhaps, it’s not a ranking factor. But I’m not willing to take that chance.

  38. Hi Marie,

    Thank you for this great article,

    One question,

    let’s say, I have one old website, It has many backlinks
    I switch to

    Instead of switch, I do not have old website, I build a new webstie: and are identical, same website content,site structure, plugins,theme and etc.

    Can they get the same ranking and traffic in the same amount of time?

    Thank you!

    • In most cases if you have the same content and move it to a new domain, it should be able to rank as well. But there are so many variables that could affect this including things like load time, internal link structure, etc. I’d make sure you do all you can to make it clear that this new domain is the same company as before…update all of your social profiles, etc.

      It’s also important to know that if there were any issues with the old site that were hindering it such as link trust issues, those will follow with the redirect.

  39. Thank you for sharing your article. It is a Really Amazing article for me. keep continuing sharing your blog post. Thank you very much

  40. I have a question, suppose I buy a hosting that provides a free SSL certificate and unlimited domain, so do I get a free SSL certificate whenever I attach a new domain to it?

  41. Awesome info i was using the HTTP but after reading this im now gonna change my site tp HTTPS

  42. That is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very precise info… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  43. I didn’t know how this can affect the site If you don’t switch your website to Https before this blogpost. Thanks for this information and the reasons behind to switch from Http to Https.

  44. I didn’t know how this can affect the site If you don’t switch your website to Https before this blogpost. Thanks for this information and the reasons behind to switch from Http to Https.

  45. Hi, very helpful. Can you recommend an htaccess script for http to https forwarding? Goal, all traffic in and incoming old http links go to the new https site. Thanks, Andy

  46. I didn’t know how this can affect the site If you don’t switch your website to Https before this blogpost. Thanks for this information and the reasons behind to switch from Http to Https.

  47. Thanks Marie for the insights.

    I changed my site from http to htpps like 3 weeks ago. I did not configure the 301 redirects properly (found out today). Since the past 2-3 days the traffic started to drop and found out some of my good performing posts just disappeared from SERP. Those posts were on first page but now they can’t be seen anywhere on SERP. Now, when I did some research in Search Console I found out 14 URLs were excluded and says ‘Discovered – currently not indexed’. I have fixed everything now. Did the redirects correctly and submitted a new sitemap.

    My concern is – do you think it’s because of the wrong 301 redirects that the posts/URLs disappeared from SERP? I guess they were creating duplicate problem.

    My site has only 37 posts. How long do you think it will take to fully recover?

    Thanks in advance

    • Tough to say for certain without digging into the posts, but most likely I would guess that within another week or two things should be back to normal. If they do not return, then I would recommend paying close attention to the quality of those posts. Are they truly the best of their kind? I have a theory that in some cases when a site moves to https Google looks more closely at the quality of those posts.

  48. I had no idea how this can affect the website If you don’t switch your website to Https before this blogpost. Thanks a lot for this informative article and the reasons behind to switch from Http to Https.

  49. Hi,

    Thanks for this post actually I add SSL on my website after 6 months and I saw that I lost my rankings so its effect SEO after update SSL because of some of my keywords in rank but when I update SSL I lost my ranking and webmaster shows 0 links and clicks so how I get my rank back.

    • This is a hard one to answer without investigation. My guess (but it’s impossible to say without investigation) is that there are quality issues on the site and the switch to https forced a re-evaluation. I’d suggest starting with Google’s blog post on core updates:

      With that said, it’s possible the migration to https was not done correctly. Might be worth having an SEO professional review your redirects, etc. to make sure nothing was done incorrectly.

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Marie Haynes is the founder of HIS Web Marketing, formerly at In 2015, she rebranded the company to Marie Haynes Consulting Inc.