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Migrating from http to https via canonical ONLY for 10 days

     
4:24 pm on Mar 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've read all the guides and always get the same result. Initial rank loss, some pages recover and some don't. Some http remains 6 months later anyway which tells me that the sites link profile is still not up to date for a long long time.

- If you apply a rel canonical tag pointing at the https version you are wasting your time if you also 301 redirect visitors from http to https. Why? Because google can't see your canonical on the http version anymore, they don't get he memo, they get redirected too.

- By leaving both versions active for about 10 days the monster share of URLs in serps will be https. Via redirection it's barely getting started.

- Search console fills up with https NOT selected, we think the http version is better, when you redirect from http to https.

I agree with immediately updating all internal links, and external incoming links if you have access, to point to https but those 301 redirects slow down the show quite a bit compared to letting Google see both versions with the new canonical.

I agree that, eventually, a 301 should be made sitewide to https, but right away? It doesn't seem like a good idea anymore until Google has had a good sniff of both URLs and they can't do that if you 301, they never see the new canonical on the page they know.

Has anyone tested this? I'm migrating another site and this time leaving the redirects off until I see serps have propagated. "site:example.com inurl:https" shows how many pages google has switched to https in serps.
2:09 am on Mar 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Never played the game that way. A move is a move, but let us know how the duplicate content (which we know G does not like) goes.
2:54 am on Mar 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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rough order of magnitude - how many urls?
4:55 pm on Mar 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have moved multiple sites from http to https and I have always just took the simple approach. 301 everything from http to https. Google always seems to play nice, I imagine they have make it simple because it is a process they expect most sites to go through. In reverse, I don't quite know how it would pan out.

Mack.
8:53 am on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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90% of the site has switched from non-https to https in serps in one week using canonicals only. I updated all of the internal links to point to https only and the sitemaps have both versions when I changed the canonicals on http pages to https. I'll remove the http version from the sitemaps and apply a proper 301 this weekend most likely.

Smooth transition to say the least.

Search console data is a mess however, the http urls bottom out and have no new data and the https versions have new data but that data isn't merged for both versions. I do have the account set up to aggregate all versions but it's not happening with http and https, they are seperate pages.

I can live with that, no traffic loss. If 301 isn't possible canonical will work on it's own. 301 is still ideal, however, to keep humans off non https pages. I was just curious if giving google time to see both would help. I don't know if it did but it certainly didn't hurt.
10:54 am on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I do have the account set up to aggregate all versions but it's not happening with http and https, they are seperate pages.

this would be a problem, no?
are the http urls still showing up in the serps?
5:05 pm on Mar 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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No, the http urls have been replaced with https urls in serps(94% of them as of this morning). The HTTP urls in my search console dashboard all show data up until I made the switch, then they show 0 impressions after they were replaced in serps by HTTPS. Likewise the HTTPS pages have begun aggregating data in search console.

I'd have preferred if search console consolidated HTTP and HTTPS urls but I can see where it might be useful that they didn't. I just have to be weary of data that goes back before the change. In 3 months the HTTP URLs will not show in 3 month reports but will in 16 month reports, etc.