HTTPS Migration – What does it mean for your Business?

Do you know if your website is safe?

It’s a valid question given the current climate of leaked personal details and how some companies handle the information of their customers. With new GDPR compliance coming into play in 2018, many companies are taking extra precautions to ensure their customers’ data is safe.

You may have built up a positive reputation in the ‘physical marketplace’, but digital marketing is a whole new playing field where site security is of paramount importance. That is why a HTTPS migration might be a priority for your website. A lot of how website relevance and rankings are determined comes down to trust; whether or not your site is safe to use, easy to use and offers the most appropriate information for what someone is searching for.

You can have the best products on the market, but if your website is cumbersome and visitors get safety warnings when they browse it, you’re very likely to lose out on a lot of online sales or enquiries. It’s all part of the wider User Experience (UX) and how this affects the way people are able to browse your site and pay for products quickly and safely.


How do I know if your site is safe?

Whilst site security isn’t always a top priority for blogging sites or brochure sites, it can be vital for those offering products for sale or for sites that request personal information from visitors.

Any security threat or safety warning that pops up during the buying process will lead savvy customers to abandon the transaction completely. If customers are able to make a purchase without any complications and receive the items they have ordered without major issues, chances are they will return, as well as recommend your site to friends and family.

Ways that you can tell your site is secure:

  • Green padlock at the start of a web address
  • SSL Certificate (click on the padlock to show the SSL certificate)
  • HTTPS rather than HTTP

This last point indicates that your site is secure, meaning that no one else can see details being entered without the visitors permission. This is often called a Man in the Middle Attack (MITM), where someone is able to steal private information whilst it is being entered.

What is HTTPS and why do I need it?

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and is a clear indicator that a website has an extra layer of security. Alongside improving the speed of your site, the main reason for using https is that it can stop malicious hackers gaining access to private information such as bank account details. Having this security in place will establish trust with customers by declaring that you as a business have invested in their online safety.

By implementing HTTPS, your customers will benefit from the following additional security features:

  • Data Integrity – detects whether data is being modified or corrupted during transfer
  • Authentication – guarantees a direct connection with the intended website, stopping MITM attacks
  • Encryption – encrypts any data being transferred so it cannot be viewed or stolen by others

If you have created a website from scratch, chances may already be protected with HTTPS. However, older sites might still only have HTTP, which means they will have to be migrated onto HTTPS as soon as possible.

How do I perform a HTTP to HTTPS Migration?

Whilst it is an in-depth process, implementing HTTPS will ultimately be a valuable transition and will protect your business, and your customer’s personal information. The reason it is referred to as a migration is that it is, in a digital sense, the process of moving your entire website to a new place. In fact, it is making your HTTPS site appear, whilst simultaneously hiding the HTTP version and redirecting search queries to the new site.

There are certain complexities and pitfalls that mean the migration should be handled by professionals. Mishandling of your HTTPS migration can lead to confusion when users are searching for your site, sending them to the wrong page and stopping them from completing a transaction.

We have developed a step-by-step process that ensures all the below points are covered:

  1. Obtain a Security Certificate with a 2048-bit key
  2. Set up 301 redirects to push users towards the new HTTPS site
  3. Ensure website resources such as CSS, Javascript and Images have been redirected
  4. Revise your robots.txt file to reflect the changes
  5. Remove any noindex tags from any HTTPS pages
  6. Cut down redirect chains for quicker loading
  7. Point all canonical, alternate and hreflang tags towards HTTPS site
  8. Final testing and deploy changes
  9. Add new HTTPS property to Google Search Console, generate a new sitemap and submit it to Google

Whilst the above points are a basic process we would follow, the HTTPS migration itself should always be performed thoroughly to ensure there aren’t any significant issues for your website. By appointing professional SEO experts to take charge of your site migration, you can rest assured that your site will have an extra layer of security for the foreseeable future.

If you would like more information on how to migrate your website to HTTPS please do get in touch.

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Tecmark Author Rob Bester

About the Author

Rob Bester:

Rob joined Tecmark in January 2018 and has been working in digital marketing as a copywriter and content manager for over 3 years, writing for a huge range of different clients and subjects.

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