- Should you move your website from HTTP to HTTPS?
- Is it worth moving an information site like a blog to HTTPS?
These were some of the questions we all had last year when HTTPS became really common.
If we look at the current trend, it’s a no brainer that our sites should be using HTTPS.
And when you are starting a new site & implementing HTTPS, things are easy.
However, when you are moving an existing/running site from HTTP to HTTPS, things are not that simple.
Moving to HTTPS is indeed a big technical SEO change. At times, people make mistakes here & start losing their SEO traffic.
However, one can quickly avoid this if they are following all the right steps before & after moving their site from HTTP to HTTPS.
There are a few tools that let us check for proper SSL implementation, but they are not geared toward SEO. These tools usually check for canonical & SSL certificate implementation, which is not enough when you are doing an SEO audit after moving your site to HTTPS.
So, what’s the solution?
SEMrush, which is the most popular SEO tool, recently added an HTTPS implementation audit feature in their site SEO audit feautre. As some of you may know, SEMrush is the most comprehensive HTTPS SEO audit tool I have ever come across.
In this guide, I will share how you can use this tool to check if there’s anything wrong with your HTTPS implementation.
If you have migrated your site from HTTP to HTTPS recently and have noticed a drop in traffic, or if you are planning to move your site to HTTPS sometime in the future (which you should), this is the tool that you should be using.
SEMrush is a paid tool, however, you can use the link below to sign up for a 14-day free trial (you can simply cancel the subscription before 14 days is up).
Test drive the HTTPS feature of SEMrush (14 days of unrestricted access)
How To Use The HTTPS Implementation Site SEO Audit Feature
Note: This feature can be used by existing SEMrush users & new users who are signing up for the first time.
Here is what you need to do:
- Create an account on SEMrush or log in to your dashboard.
- Click on Projects on the left side column.
- Click on Add New Project & give your project a name (see the below screenshot for the reference).
- Click on Save & then click on the “Site Audit” option.
This part is pretty easy & straight forward.
- Depending upon your site’s size, select the number of pages you want to be crawled.
SEMrush crawlers will start crawling your site & within a few minutes, you will have your report ready.
Along with any HTTPS issues, SEMrush will show all other SEO issues present on your site.
In my case, it took about 5 minutes to crawl 400+ pages.
- Now, open up the generated report & on the next page, click on the HTTPS Implementation tab to find all existing HTTPS implementation errors on your site.
In this case, all reports are OK apart from one subdomain HSTS issue (which is not major).
An Example Of An HTTPS Implementation Error:
Let’s look at ShoutMeLoud, a big site where there are a few HTTPS SEO issues.
This is a screenshot from the ShoutMeLoud.com HTTPS audit report:
Here I have discovered a few site-wide links which are still HTTP.
Fixing this issue helped me lower down the number of redirections & will help search engine bots to crawl the site more effectively.
Discovering non-secure pages:
This issue is triggered if the SEMrush Bot detects an HTTP page with a <input type=”password”> field. Using a <input type=”password”> field on your HTTP page is harmful to user security, as there is a high risk that user login credentials can be stolen. To protect users’ sensitive information from being compromised, Google Chrome will start informing users about the dangers of submitting their passwords on HTTP pages by labeling such pages as “non-secure” starting January 2017. This could have a negative impact on your bounce rate, as users will most likely feel uncomfortable and leave your page as quickly as possible.
If you have effectively implemented an SSL certificate & are serving all of your pages properly, this result should show zero non-secure pages.
However, in my case, I have 2 sub-domains which I have yet to move to HTTPS.
Depending upon the complexity of your or your client’s website architecture, this tool can help you discover severe SEO issues which are not easy to discover manually.
Most of you who have used my earlier guides on HTTP to HTTPS migration will either have no issues or very minor ones.
If you need those tutorials, they’re here:
- How To Fix Mixed Content Error In WordPress After Adding SSL Certificate
- How To Use A Free SSL Certificate With Bluehost Hosting
However, it would be very unwise for anyone to be over confident & not use another tool to ensure the HTTP to HTTPS migration is problem-free.
Since SEMrush offers a 14-day free trial, it’s a good starting point for anyone to test out their HTTPS implementation.
Go ahead & do a complete SEO audit using the above tutorial.
Let us know what kind of HTTPS implementation issues you have found using this tool. Also, if you are stuck somewhere while fixing the issue, let me know in the comments section below and I will help you along.
Know someone who is waiting to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS? Share this guide with them to help them avoid any SEO blunders!