Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Handling Local Citations While Switching to HTTPS

It has become one of the most common practices to switch the sites to HTTPS since Google has officially announced that sites with HTTPS would have an upper hand while being ranked.

It simply means that switching to HTTPS can be beneficial from SEO’s perspectives. However, there are some bad experiences, regarding switching to HTTPS, in the past year that certainly give a hint about the inconveniences one may encounter during and after the process. These issues include:
  • Migrating to HTTPS and ignoring to redirect the HTTP version of pages to the HTTPS versions.
  • Migration to HTTPS without taking SEO team into confidence. That might make the SEO team to get panicked upon finding out that everything they had been working on is now vanished.
  • Migrating to HTTPS without ensuring that site is fully secured. For instance, you have switched to HTTPs and didn’t update the CSS file which is still working in HTTP environment, you might see a notification regarding privacy risk in the start of website’s URL.
  • Insecure site warning may also appear next to your website’s URL in search results. As an immediate consequence, you might see your CTR getting affected pretty badly.
  • There are cases when sites migrated to HTTPS and then the site owners decided to revert back to HTTP. This practice, at majority of times, resulted in a serious blow as clicking those URLs would then show the following page.

Handling local citations, while migrating to HTTPS, has been one of the major challenges that may occur. Local citations mainly involve business listings on the major local websites such as Yelp, Google My Business and many more. The best practice here is to update the old URL with the new one.

Here, some may argue that HTTP links in those citation websites still work fine as those URLs are redirected to HTTPs versions. It’s true that the redirect takes you to the desired website but this process of entire traffic coming through redirects affects the overall traffic pretty badly. According to a study, a business with multiple branches had to suffer 15% drop in overall traffic due to redirected traffic coming from citation websites.

Another mistake that is usually made while migrating to HTTPs is to ignore the image URLs. If you have done this mistake, you will most probably find each of your image URLs broken when you will add them in GMB profile.

So, the best practice here is to have someone working on local citations while migrate to HTTPs. Moreover, share your plans with chiropracticSEO team and give them some time to rethink their strategy.

While the issues discussed above are true, you might find a little relief with the fact that, in the last 6 months, businesses making serious mistakes while migrating to HTTPs didn’t have major blowback. The probable reason is that Google recommends this migration and it may be lenient in dealing with the mistakes that happen due to migration to HTTPs.