Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.224.121.67

Forum Moderators: phranque

What will happen if I don't switch to HTTPS?

possible downside of non-secure pages

     
12:23 am on Feb 18, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:10113
votes: 550


Many site owners are still deciding if or when they will follow the new SSL standard of using a security certificate and switching to HTTPS.


Possible downside of not switching to HTTPS*

Visitors may start to decline. As discussions about secure web sites become more popular, visitors may avoid non-secure web sites.

Browsers are still transitioning but the warnings will get more explicit for ALL pages, not just Credit Card or forms. These warnings may further scare off visitors.

Google has made statements that secure sites will gain advantage in mobile & desktop SERP. HTTPS is already being displayed for secure sites. Bing & other Search Engines will surely follow.

Eventually, non-secure websites may be considered unsafe to users and purged from SERP altogether.

Browser support for HTTP/2 protocol is only for HTTPS websites. This protocol greatly speeds up page loads. If your site is not secure, you will not benefit.

*Possible scenarios, no one knows for sure.
12:30 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


@loupiote Don't worry about your new https links, worry about your old ones...
12:41 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 4, 2008
posts: 22
votes: 0


the old HTTP links should not be a problem, if you redirect them 301 towards the new HTTPS url's. this type of redirect is ok. but the opposit are not ok if the HTTPS link does not have a valid CERT anymore.
12:53 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


@loupiote so you can redirect them back. It's not going to happen though...
1:08 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 4, 2008
posts: 22
votes: 0


no you cannot redirect them back, it would cause a security warning if your CERT is not valid anymore. therefore google will ignore those redirect (i.e.it will consider them invalid). and users would have to go through a warning, to reach your non-SSL site via an HTTPD url.
1:10 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 4, 2008
posts: 22
votes: 0


redirect from HTTP to HTTPD: ok
redirect from HTTPD (with invalid cert) to HTTP: not ok!

that's why i say: there is no turning back.
1:17 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


@loupiote Yes, in that sense you are right. Once you have a certificate you always need a certificate.

(but that is true to all technology updates)
7:51 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


May I post a link to an article from WIRED here? I am not saying site-wide HTTPS is bad, but as long as large sites report traffic loss due to 301 redirects, we need to be super cautious. The article about the transition is from mid-2016 well after the first announcement by Google about moving to HTTPS.

Plus, it took Google 2.5 years to say that a 301 redirect does not loose page rank...

[wired.com ]
9:17 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Administrator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator not2easy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 27, 2006
posts:3451
votes: 182


Larger, older sites with years of legacy content will have more consideration to prepare for the changes, no question. Wired.com is one example, also such sites as BBC News, NY Times, Washington Post, any news site, really. The article linked to is from 2015 and there have been significant changes in browsers since that time. Upgrading resource requests used to be something that needed to be done per instance and some browsers were not very co-operative but today you can include headers that request upgrading [w3.org] whenever the resource exists both as http and https.

There is no requirement to use a 301, it simply avoids confusion. One domain I assist with that is in transition today is being transitioned in increments due to its age and as long as you are including canonical headers, I suppose it is possible to leave it that way. But think of the confusion of having two sites that are the same and can be accessed either way. That is reason enough for me to wish to send visitors to the https version.
10:35 pm on Feb 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


We have made the changes on our website and then tested it on both http and https. We did not find any issues of mixed content and we believe to be ready.

However, too many sites have reported too many issues with external factors, so we are still undecided about switching. Just a few hours ago we found out that changing many pages before a 301 redirect is a dangerous thing because if the original pages' index is not updated on time, Google could see the original page and the target page as "not equal" and raise some flags...
1:31 am on Feb 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

Administrator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator not2easy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 27, 2006
posts:3451
votes: 182


Is there any possibility of adding a canonical link in the old page to the new page prior to implementing the 301? That would give a clear signal.
12:31 pm on Feb 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 13, 2016
posts: 348
votes: 50


As I mentioned a couple of times, I switched my 10+ years old site last summer to HTTPS, it has 1 million pages indexed at Google.

AND I took the opportunity :

- to release a brand new site design, fully responsive, to have both desktop and mobile users accessing my site with the same URLs indifferently.

- changed the internal link structure.

- to merge all my sub domains into the main domain.

And all went very smooth. I put the new HTTPS version of my site online, and set up 301 redirects , and used the "change address tool" from the Search Console (which I think is very important). And all was transparent. I had no loss of traffic, at all. The same day, Googlebot started to crawl the HTTPS very heavilly, and after 2 weeks, all URLs were replaced in Google search. During that time, there was no change at all in trafic. So now it's been 9 months, and all is still fine.
1:08 pm on Feb 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 25, 2005
posts:1569
votes: 213


used the "change address tool" from the Search Console (which I think is very important)

Only if you're actually changing your address, i.e. your domain name. You cannot use that feature for a HTTP > HTTPS change (the protocol is not shown in the list of sites to choose from).
4:09 pm on Feb 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 13, 2016
posts: 348
votes: 50


>> Only if you're actually changing your address, i.e. your domain name. You cannot use that feature for a HTTP > HTTPS change (the protocol is not shown in the list of sites to choose from). <<

Indeed.I confused it with the fact I was regrouping my sub-domains at the same time and switching from www to non-www . So in fact, I changed everything at once + HTTPS
6:08 pm on Feb 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


@dimitri May we know how much traffic you have daily? Is it in the 4 or 5 digits?
6:20 pm on Feb 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 13, 2016
posts: 348
votes: 50


@guggi2000, I have 15.000 unique "human" visitors per day. Before the Google image search, some years ago, I had nearly 100.000 visitors / day.
6:39 pm on Feb 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


@Dimitri Story sounds familiar, you're not alone :-)
Your previous post is a very good input and 15,000 is high enough to measure stats.
8:10 pm on Feb 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:14256
votes: 551


<begin devil's-advocate mode>
I have 15.000 unique "human" visitors per day. Before the Google image search, some years ago, I had nearly 100.000 visitors / day.

How many of those 85,000 were visiting a page solely because that was the only way to view an image they'd searched for? How many went on to visit other pages of your site, and/or click on ads?
</dam>
8:36 pm on Feb 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:10113
votes: 550


Lets stay on topic please :)

The topic is switching to HTTPS and the possible outcome of not switching.
7:34 am on Feb 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


Let's say we keep just the critical pages under HTTPS (post-login, payment, etc.) for a few more months, until the entire site is ready for the switch.

Would you redirect HTTPS from the other pages to the original HTTP so that search engines won't pick up and index the HTTPS version by accident? Or would you just trust the sitemap and use the other parameters as mentioned by @robzilla ?

In my opinion, it is important to be very "clear" about a webmaster's intention by using 301, however using it from HTTPS to HTTP may give a "wrong, overall" signal.
11:49 am on Feb 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 13, 2016
posts: 348
votes: 50


Be carefull, if your site exists in both HTTP and HTTPS, even if there is no links to the HTTPS page, Google will pick the HTTPS version of site. I don't remember where I read it, but once Google said that it was testing if an HTTPS version of a site exists, and if so, indexes it, instead of the non-HTTPS one. So, be careful when mixing HTTPS folders/pages with non-ones.

nb: @lucy24, people coming from Image search, had a good engagement, they were looking at additional pages and leaving comments, because there are discussions and talks about how images/drawing/paintings have been achieved and constructed, and debating about the meaning or intention of the creator, etc... , and it was generating 1/3 of my adsense incomes.
12:15 pm on Feb 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


@Dimitri Yes, that is why I was asking. @robzilla gave a list how to avoid this, see above in one of his previous posts.

Nonetheless, I do not feel comfortable with 301 an HTTPS to an HTTP. It does not seem right.

By the way, Dimitri, you said that you took the opportunity to change your site before doing the switch to HTTPs and you did not loose traffic. Did you change content or just design? Thanks.
12:32 pm on Feb 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 13, 2016
posts: 348
votes: 50


Yes @guggi2000, I have never been in SEO things*, so I do things most of you will consider silly or too risky :-) So, at the same time I regrouped all my sub domains into one :

http: // www {.} domain {.} com => https: // domain.com
http: // a {.} domain {.} com => https: // domain.com/a/...
http: // b {.} domain {.} com => https: // domain.com/b/...

and I totally changed the page "design", and I "slightly" altered the page content, which was your question. The main content of the pages are the same as before (this forums / discussions), however, I changed all page titles, to simply them, basically the titles mean the same, but they are shorter and more informative. I also merged some pages into a single one (this concerns mostly sub categories pages). I also, removed some text from these pages, for example, I was listing "related" discussion and displaying the first paragraph of each discussions, now I display only their title, so I think it can be considered a change in the page content.

I did all this the same day (upload, redirects, and change in the Google search console parameters).

* my only SEO is common sense, make page fast to load, visually nice, and comfortable to read, taking care of not making HTML errors, sticking with the standards, things like that, and just making pages the way I like them :-)
12:49 pm on Feb 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


@Dimitri Yes, I consider changing page title before a site-wide 301 very risky. And the fact that you did not see any traffic changes speaks very much in favor of Google's algos...
2:53 pm on Feb 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 12, 2006
posts:2648
votes: 95


has anyone actually seen some traffic gains from changing?

everyone talks about not wanting to lose their ranking, and worrying that google will start penalising websites sometime in their arbitrary future, but I haven't seen anybody celebrating that they've jumped up five places soon after switching.

if there was something tangible like that, like a piece of tasty cake to eat, then maybe i'd switch over now.
but all that people are saying at the moment is, well... after crossing our fingers for a week we didn't lose anything. we didn't gain anything either, but at least we didn't drop down further.

all i've done so far is to install the certificate on my site so it's ready and waiting to go, but I haven't bothered to do anything to the URLs
3:34 pm on Feb 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 13, 2016
posts: 348
votes: 50


I don't think HTTPS is ranking criteria, it might eventually impact the ranking in the future.

But, seeing how many people are complaining about loss of traffic months after month, I think that not loosing traffic is something already very positive nowadays :-)
4:45 pm on Feb 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 25, 2005
posts:1569
votes: 213


It is a ranking factor, but it's so small you're not likely to notice anything. Many small things do add up, of course.
7:27 pm on Feb 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
posts:14256
votes: 551


The topic is switching to HTTPS and the possible outcome of not switching.

Oops, sorry keyplyr, I got this mixed up with the image-search thread.
1:00 am on Feb 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3050
votes: 581


I switched a secondary site over to HTTPS last year, and nothing changed except for the site's Google Analytics numbers being messed up for a while.

Our main non-HTTP information site continues to gain in Google (both rankings and traffic), so neither Google nor users are being scared off by the site's lack of an SSL certificate.

I might look into doing a switch later in the year, during our usual pre-Christmas lull, which is a good time for trying things that could backfire if I screwed something up.
6:29 am on Feb 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 19, 2012
posts: 323
votes: 2


@EditorialGuy Typo: Your non-HTTPS site, not non-HTTP...
5:15 pm on Feb 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3050
votes: 581


guggi2000: Thanks. Good catch!
This 204 message thread spans 7 pages: 204
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members