Move from HTTP to HTTPS: Google Traffic 1 Week After Moving

move http to https

Exactly one week ago, I moved my site from HTTP to HTTPS, making my whole entire site serve up content securely. As you may recall, Google officially came out and said that HTTPS is a search engine ranking signal now. One week after I moved the site, here is an update. Overall, traffic from Google organic search is up 9.58 percent. And the overall quality of the traffic is much better, as well.

Here are some stats from Google Analytics for the past week. I compared the period August 7, 2014 to August 14, 2014 with July 30, 2014 to August 6, 2014.

— Overall Sessions are up 9.58 percent.

— Percent of New Sessions is down 0.4 percent.

— New Users are up 9.14 percent.

— Bounce rate went from 88 percent to 32 percent.

— Pages per session is up 81 percent. People are viewing more pages on the site.

What’s even more interesting, though, is the data that’s being reported in Google Webmaster Tools – from the search query report:

The average position for all keywords that I rank for in Google organic search is up 10.54 percent.

Serving up HTTPS secure content on your website is not really a part of the algorithm that has to “run” at a certain time. Rather, it’s a search engine ranking factor that’s applied immediately–like PageRank, anchor text, keywords in a title tag, keywords in a heading tag, and soforth. So, once you move your site from HTTP to HTTPS you should start seeing search engine ranking increases fairly quickly.

At this point, one week after moving my site (this site) from HTTP to HTTPS, my search engine rankings are up 10.54 percent. So, should you move from HTTP to HTTPS? Absolutely. At least that’s my take

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Comments

  1. Howard says

    Did you change all internal links or just 301 redirect?

    Did Google ever move you down during the transition? We have a very large, very strong site and it scares the heck out of me to make any major changes. But see all the https discussion and don’t want to disregard it.

    Appreciate any feedback…

  2. says

    Howard,
    I’m not seeing any search engine rankings that dropped. I haven’t changed all of the internal links on blog posts to the HTTPS yet, but am working on that. Many were changed automatically through WordPress.

    All of the redirects are in place, though, if an old HTTP page is requested, it 301 redirects to the HTTPS version.

    Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to move all of your site to HTTPS all at once, you can certainly move certain sections of the site incrementally if that’s what you want to do. In my case, though, I just went ahead and moved the whole entire site to HTTPS.

  3. Affan Laghari says

    I don’t understand why the bounce rate can go down so much from this change. Sure, traffic increase can be expected if it’s a ranking factor, but lower bounce means people are clicking through to more pages on your site after the landing page. And I can’t understand the connection of that with HTTPS?

  4. says

    You are right, Affan, the bounce rate change is something to look into. I had to move the site to a dedicated ip for the https, so a change in load time might hav
    E something to do with it? I will look into it.

  5. Rahul says

    Hi Bill,

    I also moved to HTTPS 4 days ago but my traffic seems to be decreasing. how did you update your webmaster account to log in details for HTTPS website? I was under the impression that one has to include both HTTP and HTTPS versions there when moving.

    Your feedback is much appreciated

  6. says

    Rahul,
    I would make sure that you have set up the proper 301 Permanent Redirects from http to https pages on the site. Also, make sure you have both http and https verified in Google Webmaster Tools. There’s no way to tell Google about the move from http to https (which is a huge mistake on their part!) but I would at least make sure that both are verified. Once the fix that issue, you should be able to tell Google about the move.

    As far as traffic goes, what I’ve seen is that some https sites tend to load slower–get with your host to make sure that the server is optimized so that it loads just as quickly (or quicker) than the site did before. You might also consider using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) like CloudFlare or something similar. When I moved this site to https I also added CloudFlare which I believe helped to make a difference, as well.

    So far, after about a week and a half of changing from http to https I’m seeing about a 10 percent jump in search engine rankings overall and a 10 percent increase is traffic from Google organic search.

  7. Steve says

    I appreciate the study you did, but one week is really not enough time to call this a significant result. The increase in traffic and rankings over that short a period of time could be due to many other factors such as adding content and off-site factors beyond your control. My sessions, time on site, etc. and SERPs often fluctuate by 10% each week (both up and down), even if I’ve made no changes at all to my sites.

    I think that if this held true over a longer period of time (at least a month) and with no other changes made to the site, I would be more inclined to agree with your results.

    Please keep us posted.

  8. says

    You’re right, Steve, there are a lot of other factors involved here. And we don’t know exactly when, or if, Google is giving weight to this ranking factor. I plan on adding a new post on the traffic/rankings.

  9. Annie Maloney says

    Bill, we are in the process of adding the SSL cert to our main site. We are a real estate site that DEPENDS on organic rankings. What steps did you take in making the switch? Were there plugins that you used or did you modify files in .htaccess? Duplicate content is also a concern while the migration takes place if it is a slower process than anticipated. A tutorial would be great 😉

  10. says

    Annie,
    I’ll start working on a tutorial that details the steps for moving from HTTP to HTTPs. The key is to make sure that your 301 redirect your old URLs (the http URLs) to the new HTTPS URLs. If you’re using WordPress, I recommend using the https plugin, as well. Typically I like to crawl the site as well, to make sure that any internal links are updated to https as well. You may want to also contact site owners who are linking to you to see if they’ll update the links.

    Since you’re 301 redirecting the old URLs to the new ones, there really shouldn’t be any change rankings in Google, I haven’t seen any issues.