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Drop in rank after implementing Https.

     
1:16 pm on Sep 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing a drop in rank in keywords that I wrote down their relative positions before implementing https. Now that I have done https on 8/29/17 (the correct way with 301 redirect, and removing all instances of http), I am seeing some keywords disappear from rankings, while others have reduced in rank, and some are in the same position before and after.

Is this normal? How long till the rankings return? Anyone have experience with this that has seen a similar thing happen to them?

I have read stories of some people switching back to http to get their traffic back after losing 40% of their traffic after 2 months of waiting for their rankings to return.
9:51 pm on Sept 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@aristotle thanks mate I appreciate that.

@keyplyr "Where are you getting this "filter" information seoskunk? Please post link to authority source."

All authority sources have retired so your stuck with me :)
11:40 pm on Sept 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Shaddows did you recover from your ranking drop? How long did it take? Did you have to correct something or just wait it out?
11:56 pm on Sept 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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An observation, not a solution or even speculation, JUST AN OBSERVATION, that for two of the sites I mentioned above I had a 24 hour turn around by disavowing non-https sites linking. Merely a report for a specific situation as the third site did not benefit from the same. Merely a report.

But it is a "think about it" moment.
1:16 pm on Sept 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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for two of the sites I mentioned above I had a 24 hour turn around by disavowing non-https sites linking.

Just to clarify- do you mean that the google rankings and traffic improved after you disavowed backlinks from http sites?
5:54 pm on Sept 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You do not use protocol in a disavow file.
7:48 pm on Sept 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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That's true, but you can disavow sites that are not the same protocol as what you are using. Again, not saying that made a difference, but everything turned UP for two sites, but not the third.
7:55 pm on Sept 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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That makes absolutely no sense and the disavow file does not work like that.

Where are you getting this (mis)information from?
9:24 pm on Sept 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I thought he meant that he took the extra time to find out what protocol each individual linking site uses, and to disavow the specific ones that currently happen to be http.

Still sounds more like coincidence, though.
9:37 pm on Sept 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Why would anyone want to disavow non-https sites? What beneficial purpose would that serve? Where is the documentation on this? If this is a verified technique to acheive some type of result, please supply the authoritative link.

That would be a huge number of sites that likely contribute to your page rank. Removing the link juice from those sites *could* have a devastating effect on your site's ranking, if the disavow file still has much weight at all.

IMO the disavow file has lost most of its usefulness anyway since that respective algo is now in the past. I actually removed the disavow file and saw absolutely no ranking change at all, but I had <100 domains listed.
5:21 pm on Sept 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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First, already said it was not usual.

The sites each had less than a dozen links, so easy to check.

The https were left alone, the http were disavowed.

Two of three sites experienced an immediate up turn within 24 hours.

This is empirical evidence. Or coincidence, though with three sites in different very high value niches other factors may be involved.

Also this action is contrary to commonsense and ordinary practice.

Take it or leave it.
7:16 pm on Sept 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well google is urging everyone to switch to https, but then, for whatever reasons, is sending less traffic, at least temporarily, to some of the sites of people who try to comply.

Most likely even a temporary loss of traffic will never be made up, and the lost opportunities to get signups and attract backlinks could cause permanent harm to a site.

So is google accidentally punishing some of the people who try to comply with its request to switch to https? And if so, should google attempt to do something about this?
7:24 pm on Sept 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Traffic and rank (thread topic) are two different metrics, albeit loosely related.

A couple reports of less traffic after switching protocols does not indicate "google... is sending less traffic." Millions of websites have switched protocols, and millions of others will be doing the same.

There are many server configs. We have listed only generic methods for switching to secure content. It is the responsibility of each site owner to work with their respective hosts & server admins to get this upgrade done correctly.

What Will Happen if I Don't Switch to HTTPS? [webmasterworld.com]
9:01 pm on Sept 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Most of the people who switched their sites to https and immediately suffered traffic losses probably don't know the specific reason for the traffic loss, and therefore don't know how to fix the problem. This just makes the ordeal even worse for them.
9:14 pm on Sept 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm calling bullsh@t here ! Google are filtering inbound links to https and thats why people are seeing their sites fall. You can mock me, bully me, say what you like but truth always wins :)
10:39 pm on Sept 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You can believe any silly thing you want seoskunk, but without evidence, that's all it is.
12:30 am on Sept 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Ok, just made another discovery. The day I implemented https, I noted the positions of keywords in both Google and Bing.

I had not checked bing since, and the results are really bad. My bing positions went from 1st page results to 2nd or just gone. I hope these come back, as I had a lot of bing clicks.

Anyone else check their bing keyword positions before and after? So its not just google that gets affected....
1:05 am on Sept 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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vphoner, this is bad news indeed. I'm sorry this has happened to your website.

But as noted above, you should investigate what the issue is. Talk with you host/admin company. Only they can help.

There is no inherent loss of ranking or traffic from changing protocol to secure. If there was, millions of site owner would have said so.

So the issue is elsewhere. It is possible your server has a config that is causing a related issue. Make sure your server is supporting SNI.

Test your HTTPS config here [ssllabs.com]
6:04 am on Sept 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@keyplry

Perhaps millions of web owners are not as obsessed with traffic and ranking as the folks here?

EVEN G says there will be a hit (see all the quotes from g sources above)

You have indicated (time and again ... what is your authority other than your opinion?) that it is a site move (per g docs which indicates there might be a hit) and have also said disavow is so deprecated that playing games with it has no value (then again, you deleted your disavows and don't do it any longer, so where is that authority, or even empirical evidence?).

Folks are seeing this. Some folks see MORE than OTHERS and that is the query (we can't all be screwing up the change over in the same way).

The three sites I mentioned (which collect user information for specialty products that start a 7 figures and then up to 8 figures) are NOT common on the web, thus my experience might be an outlier.

But banging on and on that what folks are SEEING in their TRAFFIC and RANKINGS after switching to https is impossible makes your opinion pretty minor and by continuing to suggest they or their hosts messed up is not helpful.
6:15 am on Sept 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@vphoner, another possible reason your traffic might have decreased after securing your content is the non-support of older browsers, especially if your server doesn't support SNI. So that's the first source to investigate.

I'm switching two sites later this week. That's the first thing I check before I install the certs and work on the files.

Again, use the link above to SSL Labs to test your site's Certificate, Protocol Support, Key Exchange, and Cipher Strength. Any score less than an A- may result in lower ranking.
12:41 pm on Sept 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@vphoner, another possible reason your traffic might have decreased after securing your content is the non-support of older browsers, especially if your server doesn't support SNI. So that's the first source to investigate.

I'm switching two sites later this week. That's the first thing I check before I install the certs and work on the files.

Again, use the link above to SSL Labs to test your site's Certificate, Protocol Support, Key Exchange, and Cipher Strength. Any score less than an A- may result in lower ranking.


My sites all have unique IP addresses, so SNI is not the issue for me. However you do raise another issue. My IIS-hosted sites all have a B rating according to Qualys SSL test. The reason given being "This server supports weak Diffie-Hellman (DH) key exchange parameters. Grade capped to B".

Unfortunately this is not an easy issue to fix for anyone using shared IIS hosting.
2:19 pm on Sept 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, keyplyr + for your advice. I ran the test you suggested. Here are the results....

The test gave me an "A" rating.

But also said: "This site works only in browsers with SNI support. "

IE 6 and IE 8 with Windows XP showing errors. Java 6u45 Shows an error. Android 2.3.7 showing error. Everything else is green.

TLS 1.3, SSL 3, and SSL 2 all say NO.
TLS 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 all say YES

DNS CAA says NO

Using (Symantec Basic DV SSL CA - G2) Certificate

Does this indicate anything, that should be done? I use a managed dedicated server.

On the google Search Console, I have all 4 versions of the site added in. On the Bing Webmaster tools, I only have the 1 version of my site .... [mysite.com...] added in.
3:08 pm on Sept 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@vphoner If you want to get rid of the "This site works only in browsers with SNI support." message, you will need a dedicated IP address for the website.
4:45 pm on Sept 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is it only ancient browsers that cannot support SNI? And only XP operating systems?

It seems that Chrome and Firefox appear to work with XP according to the test report I ran.

Only 5.8% of my USA traffic comes from Internet Explorer, and of that only 4% of IE browser use IE6 or IE8. So its extremely small, nothing to account for a change in traffic or orders.

Only 1.5% of my users use XP, and many of them probably use Chrome or Firefox.

UPDATE: **I am seeing a small amount of keywords in google moving back up in rank, but many are still completely gone, and some have even went lower in rank.
7:46 pm on Sept 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is it only ancient browsers that cannot support SNI? And only XP operating systems?
Yes, most of us are faced with this. In itself, this shouldn't account for very much loss in traffic.

As glitterball said, the only way around that is to use a dedicated IP address. A dedicated server isn't necessary, but many hosting companies tie the two together.

Using (Symantec Basic DV SSL CA - G2) Certificate
Here may be an important issue...
Google Chrome intends to deprecate and remove trust in Symantec-issued Extended Validation certificates [webmasterworld.com]
1:57 pm on Sept 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yes, I was aware of the Symantec Cert issue..... From what my hosting company has stated is that the worst that would happen is to revoke and activate new certs, and that they are in close contact with Symantec, and will inform customers should anything change. But they see nothing now.

As to my HTTPS issue, it looks like there is nothing else I can do except wait for google and bing to propagate and reassign the link juice to all my pages. As I have read on the web, many got their rankings back in 30 days, some longer, and some never. Will post when and if my rankings return.

One strange thing I saw. One of my missing keywords where I rank very high, I can see when on an ipad on google (at the proper spot on the 1st page), but is missing on my desktop computer when I search the same keyword. Strange.

Is everything ok in my test results that I posted above? Thanks....
11:57 am on Sept 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Covering off a couple of question asked...

Our traffic recovered within 30 days- it's fine now. It eventually settled slightly down on previous, but nothing drastic.

Our traffic acquisition is >50% for Google, but quite a bit of that is people who search for our domain, or include the domain (or an accepted shortening of it) in their search. Our non-Google traffic was fine. Impressions were down in GSC, correlating with actual traffic.

vphoner, your SSL Lab stats look fine.

On to new things...
We didn't check the certificate prior to enforced switchover, since it had been fine for our cart, etc. It turns out we had a few issues there, which we have now rectified.
1) We supported RC4 in TLS1.0 (to mitigate BEAST)
2) Thawte has an unsecure Cert path [search.thawte.com] available (SHA-2 intermediate under SHA-1 root). No idea why that is a possibility, but there you go. We were using that path, and have now moved the SHA-2 path.

We have rectified these problems this week, hopefully this will have a positive impact.
8:45 pm on Sept 22, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Shaddows, glad to hear you recovered.

Today I checked my SE positions for certain keywords I have been tracking. I see improvements on many keywords today on google.

One keyword that disappeared, has re-appeared on the 1st page. Other keywords have improved many positions. The funny thing is that some keywords were never affected (on google), and others were by the https switch. Some of my keywords are still MIA though.

Bing/Yahoo still MIA, and not much improvement. Strange, but bing only showing 6 organic results for a keyword, and ads are sprinkled into the organic listings.
2:54 pm on Nov 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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70 Day Update: Ok its been a little over 2 months since I implemented https. I finally am seeing in the last couple of days a couple of the keywords listings re-appear that were MIA for quite a while on Google. Several returned, and now #2 on first page for some of them, that were completely missing after https implementation. Some rankings are still lower than before, but have seen some recovery. Bing is another story, some recovery, but many more MIA keywords that have not come back yet. Bing/Yahoo much worse impact than google. Here's hoping that more time will restore things better.
4:02 pm on Nov 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I did my 2 main sites in September. After quadruple checking everything and following a super detailed protocol, I had zero change in rankings.
4:31 pm on Nov 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I did my 2 main sites in September. After quadruple checking everything and following a super detailed protocol, I had zero change in rankings.

That's the expected outcome, for now.

What you get is referrers to identify traffic sources, possibly fewer bounces as paranoiacs know their browsing is relatively private, and assurance that no one is tampering with your content mid-stream.

Ranking benefits might come at a later date.
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