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Official Google information: how to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS

Moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS
can give your pages a slight ranking boost, and it makes browsing your
website more secure. On his Google+ page, Google’s Gary Illyes posted information on how to
migrate your website from HTTP to HTTPS. 

move to HTTPS

Here are the frequently asked
questions:

Q:
Should I move my site all at once to HTTPS, or bit by bit?

Google recommends initially moving
just a piece of the site to test any effects on traffic and search
indexing. After that you can move the rest of your site all at once or
in chunks.

When choosing the initial test section
of the site, pick a section that changes less frequently and isn’t
significantly affected by frequent or unpredictable events.

Also keep in mind that while moving
just one section is a great way to test your move, it’s not necessarily
representative of a whole site move when it comes to search. The more
pages that you move, the more likely you’ll encounter additional
problems to solve.

Careful planning can minimize
problems.

Q:
How long should I run my trial?

Google’s Gary Illyes says that you
should plan for a few weeks to allow for crawling and indexing to pick
up changes, plus time to monitor traffic.

Q:
Even though we are starting with only a section, we plan to make the
entire site available on HTTPS. To avoid indexing of the HTTPS content
early, should we use redirects or rel=canonicals?

With redirects in place, you won’t be
able to test those pages from a technical point of view. For that
reason, Google recommends using rel=canonical.

Q:
We reference our HTTP sitemaps in robots.txt. Should we update the
robots.txt to include our new HTTPS sitemaps?

Google
recommends separate robots.txt files for HTTP and HTTPS, pointing to
separate sitemap files for HTTP and HTTPS. They also recommend listing
a specific URL in only one sitemap file.

Q:
Which sitemap should map the section in the HTTPS trial?

You can create a separate sitemap just
for the updated section of your site. This will enable you to track
indexing of the trial section more precisely. Be sure not to duplicate
these URLs in any other sitemaps, though.

There are no other specific things that you need to add to the
robots.txt for the HTTPS version.

Q:
Our HTTPS site redirects non-migrated pages back to HTTP. What should
our sitemaps list? Should we list in our sitemaps both the HTTP and
HTTPS URLs? What if in the test section the HTTP URLs redirect to HTTPS?

List all HTTP URLs in your HTTP
sitemap, and all HTTPS URLs in your HTTPS sitemap, regardless of
redirects when the user visits the page. Having pages listed in your
sitemap regardless of redirects will help search engines discover the
new URLs faster.

Q:
If we set includeSubDomains in our HSTS header, which domains will that
affect?

After you migrate your entire site to
HTTPS, you can support HSTS preloading for extra security. To enable
this, you must set the includeSubDomains directive in the HSTS header.

If the site www.example.com serves an
HSTS header with includeSubdomains set, then it will apply to
www.example.com and foo.www.example.com, but not example.com or
foo.example.com.

Keep in mind however that HSTS adds
complexity to your rollback strategy. Google’s recommendation is this:

  1. Roll out HTTPS without HSTS first.
  2. Start sending HSTS headers with a
    short max-age. Monitor your traffic both from users and other clients,
    and also dependants’ performance, such as ads.
  3. Slowly increase the HSTS max-age.

If HSTS doesn’t affect your users and
search engines negatively, you can, if you wish, ask your site to be
added to the Chrome HSTS preload list.

Q:
We use a single Google News sitemap for our entire site. What do we do
if we’re migrating our site piece by piece?

Q:
Are there any specific recommendations for Google News Publisher
Center with HTTPS migration?

Google News Publisher Center
handles the HTTP-HTTPS moves transparently. In general you
don’t have to do anything from Google News perspective, unless you’re
also making use of News sitemaps. In that case, please get in touch
with the News team and let them know about the change.

You can also let the team know about
changing sections, for example in case you’re moving to HTTPS, you can
specify that you’re moving http://example.com/section to
https://example.com/section .

Migrating your website from HTTP to
HTTPS can give your website a small ranking boost. There are many more
factors that influence the position of your pages in Google’s search
results. Use the Website Audit tool and the Top
10 Optimizer
in SEOprofiler to make sure that your web pages
get the best possible rankings:

OK,
I want a free trial account

Article source: http://newsletter.seoprofiler.com/newsletter746.htm

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