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I had my websites load over insecure HTTP (http://www.example.com) and after going through all the experts' blabbering about how it's better to have sites load over HTTPS I set them all up to use SSL and redirected (301) everything from HTTP to HTTPS version as all experts claim having both HTTP and HTTPS versions basically equals to content duplication and is bad.

I also created a 2nd GWT property for each site since big daddy G. thinks changing the protocol is basically a change of website address (sic).

This all happened about 3 months ago.

Now lots of the links I had (visible in GWT) are gone, sites lost significant ranking, traffic plunged and so did sales.

Should I still hope/expect recovery, or should I switch back, or should I keep promoting the HTTPS version(s)?

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Biggest mistake was setting a 302 redirect. This should be a 301 redirect, as it tells search engines (and browsers) that the redirect is Permanent.

Right now you're just issuing a Temporary redirect, so it actually kind of does look like duplicate content and you aren't passing any page value or link juice to the new/correct site. Search engines now don't know which version is the primary.

Change your redirects to 301, and make sure all of your canonicals are to the HTTPS version of the page. You're running three months behind now, which isn't great, but it's not impossible to come back if you fix everything now.

  • Thanks Andrew, a very valid point. Initially I thought it was a 302 but after checking with Cloudflare, they use 301 redirects when "always redirecting to https". I've updated my original post. All canonical links and hrefs are updated to use HTTPS. – Nick M Oct 9 '17 at 17:43

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