For a long time, SEOs have been using the same steps to redirect their HTTP sites to their HTTPS sites. And it’s been working! Typically, there have been three main concerns when it comes to changing a URL, which are what wind up keeping SEOs from doing so:
- Using a 301 to automatically redirect loses the same amount of rankings as using an an actual link to redirect. This leaves very little options for keeping the same rankings in a redirect.
- 302s are temporary redirects, and search engines treat them like temporary redirects. 302s cause a loss in rankings just like 301s do.
- Migrating from an HTTP to an HTTPS loses rankings, and that’s usually because it involves 301 redirects. So a lot of times SEOs would rather not switch URLs at all.
Thankfully, Google has been working on some of these challenges. Google has adjusted the rankings somehow, as only can, and have decided not to penalize any sites for any of the 3XX redirection methods. While this seems like a really good thing at face value, it is also has its downsides. Yes, it seems to fix the rankings problems for switching over, but there are still other issues that spring up with the process of switching URLs.
What has happened is that using 301s to redirect has become completely risk free when it is only the URL that is changing from HTTP to HTTPS. So that is one link, albeit the main one, that is risk free. The risk free doesn’t carry over to all of the other site redirects.
As far as 302s, Google might be treating them the same as a 301, but that doesn’t mean that other search engines and social platforms. It’s great if Google isn’t penalizing for 302s, but if Bing, Facebook, and Twitter are (to name only a few) than where’s the victory?
Regardless, moving your site to HTTPS is probably going to effect traffic, even if Google is trying to make it so it won’t [lose traffic]. Google wants the World Wide Web in its entirety to switch over to HTTPS, so they provided a small incentive in the form of a small rankings boost for doing so. The problem is that with all of the moving pieces and parts that come from moving a site, all of those pieces and parts open up the potential for something to be done incorrectly, which will result in a loss of traffic and rankings.
There’s going to be risks, no ifs ands or buts. And the bigger the site, the more issues. If you can start by moving a smaller site, to gain some practice, that is definitely the recommended way to go. A chiropractor site is going to be getting very specific traffic, and it’s understandable that you don’t want to risk losing any of that, but hopefully the benefits in the end will outweigh the temporary issues.
Not enough time has passed to write some sure-fire ways to make the easy switch, but there are definitely some tips to take into consideration:
- Keep in mind that risks are inevitable
- Most search engines still prefer 301 redirects
- When redirecting, try to keep every other element the same as it was before, except for the URL
- There are several benefits for redirecting URLS when it comes to SEO, and they are especially helpful when it comes to chiropractors, where the material tends to be more complicated and technical as it is
- Improving the site structure
- Including primary keywords in the URL
- making URLs easier for the consumer to read