Website migration is a critical task and there are so many things that you need to check before you execute the migration. Shifting from HTTP to HTTPS can bring a lot of benefits for you and your customers, however, it needs to be done with utmost care. To make the process easier for you, we have created an ultimate checklist that you can follow.
Even if you haven't done the migration before, you don't have to worry about it. Just keep an eye on these simple points and you are all set to shift your site from HTTP to HTTPS.
First, verify the HTTPS version
You can use Google or Bing webmaster tools to verify that you are using the latest version and also check if your website is running on www or a non-www version. If you are confused about which one to choose, you can pick the www version for your site.
Check all 301 redirects
If you are planning to redirect certain pages, always prefer permanent redirect (301) over temporary redirects (302). Once you migrate from HTTP to HTTPS, scan your website using any link analyzer tool to check all the redirects are working correctly. If any redirect is showing 404, fix it as soon as possible.
Updating all the links
Apart from all the main URLs like the home page and other services or product links, check all the additional links also. Run a check for all the PDFs and whitepapers you have on your site. If they are still running on HTTP, then move them to the safer version. Also, check for all the internal linking that you had performed earlier.
Update links on social media platforms
We use multiple social media platforms and all have our website URL so the visitors can arrive on it easily. Once you migrate, open all social media account settings and change the destination URL.
New Sitemap & Robots.txt
The sitemap is important for search crawlers to scan and index all the new pages and content. Go to Google Search Console and update the new sitemap URL there. If you have not created the new sitemap, you can use any third-party free tool to generate one. Along with this, also update the older Robots.txt file as it will make the crawling process smoother.
Checking the canonical tags
We publish content on various platforms and in that case, we make use of canonical tags to direct the search bots which one is the original post. Once you are done with the migration process, update and cross-check all the canonical tags across all the platforms. Otherwise, the search bots will not get the correct preferred site and it might lead to ranking loss or traffic drop.
Landing pages update:
If you are into running PPC ads that you must be having more than one landing page for your ads where customers arrive after clicking on ads. Update all the landing page URLs in your ads so that the visitors can reach on the correct page. Also, make sure all your landing pages are also working seamlessly on the newly migrated HTTPS site.
After you migrate from HTTP to HTTPS, check whether all the URL structure is retained the same as they were on the previous version. It happens sometimes that some extra parameters do get added to the URL after the shifting is complete.
Resubmitting the links
Go the extra mile and resubmit the disavow links file in your Webmaster tool. By doing this, you will ensure that all the low-quality and spammy links are not affecting the new and secured version of your website. If you are also targeting keywords for Bing, then you need to update the Robots.txt file on both Google and Bing tools.
Update in Google Analytics
Many people forget to change the site in Analytics and when they realize after a few days or weeks, that much data is already lost. To avoid such situations, go to the Analytics settings and select the HTTPS version of your site. From then on, the Analytics will track all the important data on your newer version and you won't miss out on any important metric.
Change settings on the CDN
If you are using a CDN for your website, you need to update your website there also. It will avoid causing any unwanted issues regarding the server response and make sure the site is running smoothly. Check if your CDN can handle HTTPS requests also. If not, then it's recommended to switch to any professional CDN to serve your visitors a fast and secure website.
These were some important checklist points that you need to check while upgrading from HTTP to HTTPS. If you don't have an in-house technical team, you can also hire a good digital marketing team that can help you in migration and handles SEO services both.