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I'm hoping somebody might be able to provide a bit of advice on an issue I am having.

I have one site where we implemented a 301 redirect on the homepage from HTTP to HTTPS. We have links on the homepage to other parts of the site that are not under SSL (in fact there is only one other page under SSL).

When I go to our Webmaster Tools account I notice that we are not being provided with any webmaster information (e.g., search queries, backlinks, etc...) related to our homepage under SSL. I performed a Fetch as Google on the homepage and the information it returned is:

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Date: Fri, 08 Nov 2013 17:26:24 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.16 (Debian)
Location: https://mysite.com/
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Content-Encoding: gzip
Content-Length: 242
Keep-Alive: timeout=15, max=100
Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN">
<html><head>
<title>301 Moved Permanently</title>
</head><body>
<h1>Moved Permanently</h1>
<p>The document has moved <a href="https://mysite.com/">here</a>.</p>
<hr>
<address>Apache/2.2.16 (Debian) Server at mysite.com</address>
</body></html>

I am worried by the fact that Google fetch is not getting the correct Title tags and Meta information from our homepage and that this is hurting our search results.

Additionally, I am worried that we need to do something specific with the sitemap to ensure that Google is correctly indexing all our pages and being able to flow from the HTTPS to the HTTP without issues.

Does anybody have any advice on how we can correctly set this up or be sure that Google is fetching the correct information?


When I do the google fetch on the https, the correct results are shown. Some additional information here:

We switched to the SSL in July but have not seen any change in our search rankings despite efforts increasing backlinks and out put of content.

1) When we view a list of external backlinks to our homepage, it appears that the backlinks that have been built after we switched to the SSL homepage have been separated from the backlinks built before the SSL.

Even on Open Site, we are only seeing the backlinks that were achieved before we switched to the SSL on the homepage. This leads up to believe that the new links are not adding any value to our search rankings.

2) When viewing Google Webmaster for http, we are receiving no information about our homepage, only all the non-https pages. I added a https account to Google Webmaster and in that version we ONLY receive the information about our homepage (and the other ssl page on the site)

My concern is that we need to do something specific with our sitemap or with the 301 redirect itself in order for Google to read the whole site as one entity and receive the reporting/backlinks as one site.

Any thoughts?

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2 Answers

Most probably Google is getting the correct information, what you are seeing regarding search queries are partly a result of Google no longer always supplying this information to you.

The issue with the backlinks can probably be attributed to the fact, if I remember correctly, that Google Webmaster Tools has both your HTTPS and HTTP as separate entries. Have you added both to your account?

The quickest way to confirm the indexing is going well is to perform searches on Google with the flag site:mysite.com to see what is and isn't being indexed. You can also perform these using keywords to verify certain parts of the site you are most concerned about.


EDIT: We're getting to the limit of my experience so I could be mistaken here.

You might consider:

  1. Switch over to fine grained redirection to the relevant SSL page, so http://mysite.com/specific/sslpage.html has a 301 to https://mysite.com/specific/sslpage.html

    and

    https://mysite.com/specific/nonsslpage.html has a 301 to http://mysite.com/specific/nonsslpage.html

    Then you preserve the link juice for your old links.

  2. Create a sitemap with all the pages served under both the sites, in this way Google will pick up all the pages whether they are indexing http or https.

  3. Move all your open pages to SSL.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for the feedback there Dan. I have both http and the https as separate Google Webmaster accounts. The http account doesn't give me any info about the https page, and the https account won't show me any information under the 'Index Status' section. My concern is that google might be viewing the site in a disjointed way resulting in lost link juice passed from the homepage, as well as maybe not reading the site structure as a whole picture (breaking it into HTTP and HTTPS separately). I see pages are indexed with site:mysite.com - Any advice? –  user33692 Nov 13 '13 at 11:29
    
You are doing a Fetch as Google on the http rather than the https, would you update your question with the results of a https fetch this information? If the pages you want indexed are in the search and not in the GWT I wouldn't be too concerned, but it would be good to ensure GWT works correctly for you. –  Daniël W. Crompton Nov 14 '13 at 19:28
    
Thanks Daniel - I just provided a long response to your feedback below. –  user33692 Nov 15 '13 at 15:40
    
Thanks, although I'll edit and add that to the question. –  Daniël W. Crompton Nov 16 '13 at 18:22
    
Thanks for the update above Dan. We have those 301s in place as you mentioned. I am thinking the issue might have to do with the sitemap, but I've read that it is not wise to include http and https pages in the same sitemap. I really don't know what to do in this situation. It's obvious that Google is reading the pages separately, and it's not helping our search results. Thanks for your help and time though - much appreciated. –  user33692 Nov 18 '13 at 16:13
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When I do the google fetch on the https, the correct results are shown. Some additional information here:

We switched to the SSL in July but have not seen any change in our search rankings despite efforts increasing backlinks and out put of content.

1) When we view a list of external backlinks to our homepage, it appears that the backlinks that have been built after we switched to the SSL homepage have been separated from the backlinks built before the SSL.

Even on Open Site, we are only seeing the backlinks that were achieved before we switched to the SSL on the homepage. This leads up to believe that the new links are not adding any value to our search rankings.

2) When viewing Google Webmaster for http, we are receiving no information about our homepage, only all the non-https pages. I added a https account to Google Webmaster and in that version we ONLY receive the information about our homepage (and the other ssl page on the site)

My concern is that we need to do something specific with our sitemap or with the 301 redirect itself in order for Google to read the whole site as one entity and receive the reporting/backlinks as one site.

Any thoughts?

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