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Anyone changed back to http, after https traffic drop?

     
2:31 pm on Dec 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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just wondering if anybody has any experience of changing their site back to http after suffering a traffic drop with https

i know that https is the future, and that all sites will change over eventually and blah blah blah... i appreciate all of that. but i had a 20% drop when i changed over my entire site. that was way back in april and it hasn't come back, so i'm guessing it's not coming back now (and i've checked and double-checked and triple-checked the implementation and it's all fine).
if google are giving a ranking boost to https sites that it must be miniscule. when i look at the SERPs in my sector than a good half of the top 100 places are still http -- and this includes some of the biggest sites in my sector.

so i'm thinking of changing all my info pages back to http, and just leaving the login pages and form pages as https, just to see what happens.

if anyone has any experience of changing back, and it's effect on their traffic, that would be great
3:33 pm on Dec 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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This is an interesting line of thought. I wonder if anyone else has seen a consistent and significant drop in traffic since moving to https?
10:15 pm on Dec 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I don't think you can turn back Google's clock. If you change back to HTTP, all that will happen is they will re-crawl the whole site again, re-rank it again ... and who knows? Maybe they’ll knock off another 20%.
11:01 pm on Dec 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Listen to Lucy24 :)

The internet has moved to secure. Reverting back to unsecure pages will render your website irrelevant. Deal with the traffic shift. Investigate and uncover what the issue is.

I've read very few reports of a decline in traffic or ranking due to the move to HTTPS, and the reports I have read are likely due to some other factor and not the HTTPS itself. I've made about 30 sites secure and not one lost traffic or ranking, so it must be something else. Maybe you didn't do one of the steps properly?

- Generic Steps to Switch from HTTP to HTTPS -


• Read all info at your host concerning certificates & switching to HTTPS and when applicable, follow those instructions.

• Install security certificate.

• Have your host enable HTTPS (if needed.) This will enable access from both HTTP & HTTPS allowing normal access while you test.

• Go through site, page by page & make sure all file paths are relative (no protocol.) Test by accessing site using HTTPS and look for any browser alerts.

• Install 301 code in .htaccess file
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
RewriteRule ^ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
Note: your server may require a different code

• Go through site again, page by page, and test. Any remote absolute links will need to be HTTPS including those found in scripts & pluggins. If you publish Adsence or other advertising, links in these scripts need to be HTTPS also (or just remove the protocol altogether.)

• Update sitemap.xml (if applicable) and submit to appropriate agencies (Google, Bing, Yandex, etc)

• In Google Search Council create a new site using HTTPS (do not use the Change of Address form.) It will take a few days to start populating information. This is normal & traffic to old site (HTTP) will drop off accordingly.

• Bing Webmaster Tools, Yandex & others should update automatically once they crawl your new pages. Updating/re-submitting sitemap.xml should speed up this process.


If you run your own server, maybe something else needs to be changed.
11:11 pm on Dec 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I don’t want to rehash all of that because trust me, I’ve done it. Checked it, checked it again, then checked it all over again.
There are some things that might change if you revert back. All of those thousands of 301’d backlinks will be pointing straight at the pages again, with no redirect in between. Might get a little speed boost as well (an imperceptible one, admittedly)
11:31 pm on Dec 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Might get a little speed boost as well (an imperceptible one, admittedly
Just the opposite actually. There is a significant speed benefit to using HTTP/2. Browsers won't use HTTP/2 on a HTTP website. You need HTTPS.
12:31 am on Dec 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Only if you’re using it, which I’m not.

What I’m looking at though, are all those sites in my sector that haven’t bothered to change over yet, and are still riding high in the serps. Changing to https gave me no boost over them, only a loss, so why not change back. It hasn’t done them any harm
12:43 am on Dec 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Does your host provider support http/2? I know for shared services my host provider does not. Therefore there will be no speed benefit.
12:55 am on Dec 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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All of those thousands of 301’d backlinks will be pointing straight at the pages again
Only the older links that never got updated. The newer, active links from well-maintained sites will now be incorrect.

Here’s a bit of anecdotal evidence that I've been noticing. Each of my ebooks includes notes and commentary, with assorted links to information sources, Stuff I Thought Was Interesting, and so on. Because of the way I work, there can be a lag of several months between the time I make note of a link and the time I put the finished file online. The very last thing I do before posting is to run the w3c link checker. Lately I find that almost every file has at least one link that comes back as a 301 ... from http to https.
8:04 am on Dec 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So londrum, it sounds like you've decided that's what you'll do.

Let us know how that works out. Also post again in about 90 days after your pages are re-reindexed so that others can read about how reverting to unsecure pages affects Google traffic & ranking.
9:55 am on Dec 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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that's what i came on here asking: whether anyone has reverted back already, and what happened to their traffic.
11:03 am on Dec 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Fuzzy memory at work here, but I do believe a few have tried reverting and that the results did not make much difference, ie, they did not IMPROVE to their pre-https level as they hoped.

While https is a protocol, it does signal to the se's that a SITE CHANGE has occurred that requires a re-index. http to https back to http would be site change to site change (at the very least), suggesting churn and inconsistency.

Once you've changed, stay there. The web is going there anyway, it needs to go there!
6:47 pm on Dec 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Do not do this. Your https pages are considered new and will have to age properly.
7:10 pm on Dec 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Long time lurker here. Just wanted to share my experience as I've been in a similar situation so here goes my first post.

I have this huge site (154K pages indexed in Google) that was originally http and after 2 years and a good history of traffic growth, I decided switching it to https. I started to lose a great deal of organic traffic almost immediately. The drop kept getting worse and after 6 months I was losing almost 50% of the traffic I had before https and also half of my Adsense earnings were gone.

I double checked everything multiple times (canonicals, redirects, sitemaps, GA setup, etc) and it was all good.

After the sixth month I decided to switch back to http just in case, and surprisingly my traffic came back. I wish I could share screenshots here because the recovery was almost immediate.

Not sure what exactly happened but I will stick to http in this case because there is no way the user can send any information to the server from the site: no forms, no login, just pages with content, so secure protocol doesn't look like a real must.
8:01 pm on Dec 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sounds promising! Can I just ask when that was? Did you decide to change back recently or was it ages ago
8:13 pm on Dec 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@maninthemiddle Interesting use case.

Not sure what exactly happened but I will stick to http in this case because there is no way the user can send any information to the server from the site: no forms, no login, just pages with content, so secure protocol doesn't look like a real must.

Secure protocol is unnecessary in your case. There might be a slight speed up in page serving if your server supports http/2
8:39 pm on Dec 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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there is no way the user can send any information to the server from the site
The site doesn't use cookies at all? Nice.
8:53 pm on Dec 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sounds promising! Can I just ask when that was? Did you decide to change back recently or was it ages ago


It was half a year ago. I switched back to http in May 2017 and started seeing recovery a few weeks later as Google processed and recrawled the site again.

Secure protocol is unnecessary in your case. There might be a slight speed up in page serving if your server supports http/2


Agreed. I went https because everyone was doing so, bad move in my case.
9:01 pm on Dec 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Secure protocol is unnecessary in your case
What? It may seem that security is not necessary on a site that doesn't use forms or payments, but that is not the only thing that needs securing nowadays.

Every packet sent from the user's browser to the website's server has to be secure, no matter what information is being sent or received, otherwise MitM [internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com] attack can occurs. Malware, viruses, keystroke counters, etc are all then possible.

The longer you use unsecure pages, the longer you pose a threat to your site visitors and everyone else.