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HTTPS checklist for google ranking and SEO

Welcome marketeers in 2017! We start with interesting SEO news. Websites without the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) are from now on demoted by google. That is why HTTPS should probably become a part of your SEO strategy. Or not? We will highlight possible SEO strategies and a HTTPS checklist for guarding your high google ranking.



Adding an SSL certificate is like migrating your website to another domain. Your URL will change from to So this will always lead to fluctuations in google ranking, no matter how you are implementing the SSL certificate. Read further to learn how to minimize the long term impact on your organic traffic.


HTTPS and google ranking

HTTPS has been a part of the google rating algorithm since August 2014. Google announced it will start demoting non-HTTPS websites even more starting from 1 January 2017. Having said this, it is still an option to keep your HTTP website domain without the SSL certificate.

Google highly evaluates the on-site user experience and trust earned by a website. That is why it is logical Google favors websites with the SSL certificate. The SSL certificate used to be only common use by websites that are exchanging payment information or personal information. Banks and webshops should always implement the SSL certificate.

In addition, from 1 Jan 2017 on, Google Chrome indicate all non-HTTPS websites insecure. So no time to waste unless you have good reasons not to migrate.


Good reasons not to migrate to HTTPS

If your website does not exchange financial or personal information, there are still reasons not to migrate (yet) to HTTPS.

1. Expect fluctuations in traffic – your ranking for important keywords will drop from the first page to the third page; especially when your website is big and complex, this drop might take at least a few weeks
2. SSL is only one factor in the Google algorithm & SEO strategy – other factors in my SEO strategy are more important to tackle first like eg site speed, meta descriptions, low quality pages, text/image ratio, poor usage of CSS, etc
3. Cost & workload of migration – the cost of an SSL certificate can be neglected but you should carefully implement 301 and 302 redirects.


HTTPS checklist as part of your SEO strategy

Follow the steps that follow and you can expect your website to continue to rank well again after a few weeks and even to improve your Google ranking. Your web visitors also tend to trust you more because you are now a “Trusted Third Party”.

1. Clean up your overall SEO first – delete redundant and poor quality pages, delete broken internal and external links, improve meta descriptions and sitemap structure, reduce redundant redirect paths, increase site speed, disavow low quality backlinks, reduce in-page CSS, etc
2. Buy and install CSS – go for a 2048-bit key certificate
3. robots.txt – do not block your HTTPS site from crawling google robots
4. Avoid no index robots metatag – make sure that search engines can index all your pages
5. Implement 301 and 302 redirects
6. Add the new domains ( and to Google Search Console
7. Google analytics – update the https tracker and keep an eye on the results

Important note to add here… do not forget to update Google Adwords and Google Merchant Center with the new HTTPS landing pages.

Can we help you with your HTTPS checklist or SEO strategy?

Marketing For Heroes organizes the SEO strategy of many international websites and webshops.

If you want our honoust appraisal about your website or webshop, please feel free to contact us. Marketing For Heroes takes on your online marketing project in a structured and creative way!

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