Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS
Preserving your data
Using the market analysis tool from Myposeo, we were able to conduct a study on more than 5 million domains in France. We found that 85% of domains currently use HTTP, whereas only 15% use HTTPS. This shows that despite Google’s “propaganda” about the effect of using HTTPS on indexing, the majority of domains have not migrated to HTTPS.
There are many reasons to migrate:
– For security
– To pick up referral traffic
– For your online reputation
– To improve your SEO ranking
In this article, we will take a look at how to set up tools to help you keep track of your migration, measure its effect on ranking and be notified of any possible issues.
From HTTP to HTTPS in Google Analytics and Search Console
How to use Search Console when migrating to HTTPS
To use Search Console for an HTTPS site, you will need to create a new profile. To do that, you must add a new property, add the website, and indicate the protocol HTTPS in its URL. Be careful – the last three months’ worth of data from the HTTP profile will be lost!
It is worth mentioning that Search Console keeps only 3 months’ worth of data. Next we will see how Myposeo can help you keep your data for longer.
When migrating from HTTP to HTTPS, it makes sense to use Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These are the most common, most highly recommended tools for migrating.
How to use Google Analytics when migrating to HTTPS
Using Google Analytics, you can create a new view that will let you track the evolution of traffic after migrating to HTTPS. It isn’t required, but it will give you access to additional data. It is not necessary to change the protocol for the site URL; Google will simply send a reminder message each time you start it up.
As the tracking code doesn’t change, there is little risk of error. In addition, Google Analytics doesn’t make a distinction in the protocol used for a landing page in terms of traffic.
And remember, the protocol can also be changed later on.
After setting up your Search Console and Analytics profiles, it is important to link the two in the Google Analytics settings. In this setup, you will need to go to: “All products” > select Search Console and set up the link with the new Search Console property added for the HTTPS site. That way you will have direct access to Search Console data in Analytics.
The following image shows the presentation of data from Search Console in Google Analytics, in the “Acquisition” tab in the Search Console section. You will find the destination pages, countries, devices and user queries provided by Google Search Console. You can also see the sessions generated on various pages. It is important to establish the link in order to avoid losing this information.
Here are some frequently asked questions:
- “What happens if I forget to change the protocol in Google Analytics?”
As we saw before, there is no need to panic, you can still find your data in Google Analytics even if you haven’t changed the protocol.
- “I’m counting my traffic twice.”
Traffic isn’t double-counted if you create a new view in Google Analytics. You will have the traffic from your new view and your old one, because no distinction is made between the HTTP and the HTTPS sites. However, you may see two identical results if you haven’t set up the redirection correctly. You must take great care when setting up a redirection, check the robot.txt and resubmit the sitemap to Google via Search Console. This will ensure your pages remain indexed, as a robot.txt can prevent an HTTPS site from being indexed. Next we respond to the issue, “I’m not indexed anymore.” This is due to a migration error or a problem with redirecting.
- “My traffic has gone down.”
Know that when Google starts taking your new HTTPS site into consideration, it is basically starting all over again. The fact that Google must recrawl your site can lead to a temporary loss of ranking on expressions for which the site was previously well ranked. The site will regain its usual ranking or even move up in the rankings soon, however, as the HTTPS protocol is supposed to be good for SEO.
Myposeo: Tracking and saving your data after migration
In this part, we will explain how Myposeo can help you monitor your migration and save data obtained through Analytics and Search Console by archiving them.
As previously mentioned, the history of Search Console is limited to the last 3 months. It doesn’t let you save data on the number of clicks, impressions or CTR, which can be problematic when trying to track your SEO performance in the long term. In addition, the data appears only two or three days after the fact. This is because of the time it takes Google to do the calculations and deliver data on your results without the SERP.
You will therefore have to make a choice:
1) Lose your Search Console history and start over from nothing.
2) Keep the history for the HTTP site and continue getting data for the HTTPS site. This is where Myposeo tools can help you.
The benefit of linking Myposeo to your Search Console is not only that you can track your ranking, but also that you can synchronise and save data from Search Console on a daily basis. Thus you can retrieve your entire history of clicks, impressions and CTR for every keyword and page. This data is kept for 24 months.
To implement this, all you need to do is synchronise the new HTTPS property from Search Console to your existing project. That way, you will be able to collect data continuously, without ever losing it!
In the SEO tracking tool, for each keyword you will see its position, its evolution, its URL found and its search volume. If the keyword is entered into Search Console, you will also see the clicks and impressions linked to the keyword.
Data on both keywords and pages is archived. In the page view on Myposeo, you have data on clicks, impressions generated and click rate. You can also track the evolution of these indicators over time.
This solution lets you see the pages that have moved from HTTP to HTTPS, the total number of ranked pages, the number of keywords that lead to URLs with HTTP and the number of keywords that lead to URLs with HTTPS.
You can also check on URLs with dual positioning and see if there are any redirection errors, as well as detecting keywords for which you have two ranked URLs, one HTTP and one in HTTPS, which might be different. In other words, that would mean you have an HTTP URL ranked on the same keyword as an HTTPS URL. This can be beneficial as long as the pages are not similar. The transfer rate from HTTP to HTTPS is very high. The goal of SEO tracking is to see how Google has re-indexed your site and what URLs it will display, based on the keywords you were already tracking.
It is very important to check that your URLs have successfully migrated from HTTP to HTTPS.
Here is an example of an SEO tracking report. At the top, we added a record of sessions and transactions, to assure you that the business site has not lost any revenue during migration. Below, you can see the number of URLs by category and which ones are in the process of migrating to HTTPS.
You will then be able to see the percentage of pages that have moved from HTTP to HTTPS, which in this case is 6%.
In this example, between weeks 14 and 20, the number of pages decreased significantly. This was due to preparation for migration, during which Google made the site drop down a lot in the rankings. We also have an entry on the number of HTTPS pages, showing how many pages have migrated and how many HTTP pages are no longer visible. This is the type of report you can obtain regarding your HTTP/HTTPS migration by combining data from Search Console and Analytics.
Using Myposeo combined with Google tools (Search Console & Analytics) enables you to keep better track of your migration from HTTP to HTTPS. It can prevent you from moving down in the rankings and therefore losing revenue.
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