9

About a week ago I made the switch to https on one of my sites. I'm positive I did everything right. Properly setup 301 redirects from http to https versions. Added and verified https version in Webmaster Tools. Updated all internal links. Submitted new sitemap.

Despite that, many of my pages (about 40%) lost their rankings almost immediately. Those that dropped went from page 1 to nowhere. I can still see them indexed if I search for the URL, but otherwise it's like Google doesn't know they exist.

SSL Labs shows an "A" when I run their test and I have no manual actions showing in Webmaster Tools.

This is really frustrating. I don't actually need SSL, but Google finally scared me into it. Now I'm regretting the switch and contemplating going back to non-secured URLs.

Anything else I could have missed?

4

It will take time for Google to merge the index listings for your old site with your new URLs. This kind of temporary drop is normal.

Keep an eye on the 301 redirects and wait for your listings to recover.

  • 1
    There is no merge. HTTP is dropped and HTTPS is added. What remains are any domain name metrics. Essentially, everything else is redone. This is because there are two primary keys that G's index relies upon, the domain name, and full URLs. Since the domain name does not change, anything related to the domain name remains, while everything related to the URL is dropped, reindexed, and the metrics rebuilt. This is a major disruption and can take a significant amount of time depending upon the site size, freshness, popularity, topic trends, etc. Cheers!! – closetnoc Feb 8 '17 at 16:19
  • A 301 redirect preserves some metrics - such as backlinks. It takes time for Google to merge these metrics. – L Martin Feb 8 '17 at 18:48
  • After some analyzation I think my rankings drop when the https version is indexed before Google can detect the redirect. Could going into Webmaster Tools of the http entry and manually forcing a reindex of the non-secure URLs through the Fetch option quicken this process? I've already tried it for a few URLs that are still showing as http in the results and Google correctly detects the permanent 301 redirect. – Mike S. Feb 8 '17 at 20:02
  • A 301 saves the links and values for the links which is a good point. However, the HTTPS page has to indexed before it all works. Fortunately, when googlebot tries to hit the HTTP page, the HTTPS page will be fetched immediately. It may take a while for the link value to be applied but not long if at all. I only mentioned the how the index was organized to help you understand how it works. Not to be a smart-@$$! Cheers!! – closetnoc Feb 8 '17 at 22:42
7

Yes it is common. We get questions about it here all the time:

We also have questions about whether Google will rank sites better with HTTPS:

I recently moved my largest website to HTTPS (millions of monthly SEO visits). I did so without any problems with Google rankings. I did it in 3 stages:

  1. Enable both HTTP and HTTPS with canonicals on HTTP (2 years, although this could just be a quick test)
  2. Switch the canonicals to HTTPS (9 months)
  3. Redirect HTTP to HTTPS

For full details see my answer to HTTP to HTTPS: Wait for new sitemap to be indexed?

3
  • Do you have a "rel=canonical" tag in your page that points to a HTTP url rather than a HTTPS?
  • Do you have residual links inside your webpage that point to HTTP version of your webpages rather than the HTTPS version. (for instance, an <img src=http://)
  • I would encourage you to check all the redirect headers and response. In the HTTP response, you should not see a HTTP either in the HTTP headers or the HTML.

protected by Community Nov 4 '18 at 20:01

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