Google declared to give minor ranking (SEO) boost to sites which use HTTPS. However, due to misconceptions, many sites are encountering issues with their new setup.
Gary Illyes from Google, said that 30% (while most heard wrong and are using 34%) of Google’s search results are HTTPS which means 1/3rd of Google’s search results are HTTPS, and that’s huge.
Last year December, Google started to index HTTPS by default. A lot of people made the move and began to include this in their SEO strategy, but most did not do it the right way hence the misconceptions.
Misconceptions after migrating
While switching to HTTPS, most people did not find any changes in their SEO. Many even encountered downfall because of little misunderstandings. Many did not even set the HTTPS site as the preferred one and had both HTTP and HTTPS versions live.
Here are three common problems which still exist for SEO by having both HTTP and HTTPS versions floating around on the web together:
- Duplicate Content
- Wasting Search Engine Crawl Budget
- Link Dilution
Effect of Duplicate Content on SEO
While both sites versions are live, search engines get stuck in a conundrum: which version of the content to show first. This problem can scramble the search engine optimization of your site, but there is a solution to this issue in the SEO world called canonical tag. The canonical tags are not leveraged, Google see two site versions live and this will cause Google indexing both HTTP and HTTPS site versions.
Some sites are even using canonical tags but in an improper manner. Using canonical tags in both site versions will make them self-canonicalize which does not improve the SEO of your site.
Effect of Link Dilution on SEO
Floating both HTTP and HTTPS site versions around the web cause link dilution; even with canonical tags in place. If users are browsing both the versions and are sharing and linking to them respectively, this will create external link equity and social signals getting split up into two URLs instead of one. Resulting in poorly SEO optimized HTTPS setup.
Wasting Search Engine Crawl Budget
When canonical tags are not used, and both sites versions are live, Google will crawl both HTTP and HTTPS site which will result in a waste of crawl budget. The proper way to crawl is to have one preferred version your site (in this case HTTPS). If that’s not the case, it can cause problems for large sites with SEO. The best way to improve on this is to have HTTP version URLs 301: Permanent redirect to HTTPS version. Make sure not to use a 302 redirect which is just a temporary redirect and is not preferred for SEO.
The best way to get rid of all these misconceptions and improve your SEO is to practice the following:
- Use canonical tags in only HTTPS site version only to make the most for your HTTPS site out of it.
- Use 301: Permanent redirects instead of 302: Temporary redirects, to your HTTPS site.
- Make sure all the internal and external (under your control) links point towards your HTTPS site version.
- Enter your HTTPS site version to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.