Switch to HTTPS, lose your number one and two search-engine ranking

One annoying thing about switching the majority of our sites to HTTPS is losing our positions in the search engines.

We were always told that HTTPS would lead to rises in search-engine ranking, and that being a mere HTTP would lead to Google downgrading you.

The reality, as I’ve witnessed since we completed our server migration, is the opposite.

Take a search for my name. Since the 1990s, Jack Yan & Associates will wind up being first or second, and when this website came online in the early 2000s, it tended to be first. Stands to reason: my name, followed by dot com, is most likely what a searcher is looking for. Both sites were regular HTTP.

We’ve lost first and second places. For my searches, Google puts this site at eighth, and Duck Duck Go doesn’t even have it in the top 10 (it’s 15th), info box aside. The company falls on the third page in Google and a shocking fifth in Duck Duck Go.

I was told that eventually the search engines will sort things out but it’s been two months, so you wonder just how slowly they act. If at all.

The business site has plenty of inbound links, and I imagine this site has a fair share.

I’ve fixed up some internal references to http:// after advice from some friends, but that hasn’t done the trick.

I find it pretty disheartening to find that, once again, in practice, the exact opposite to conventional wisdom happens. You would think this was a routine matter, and that search engines were programmed to accept such changes, understanding that, content-wise, the secure site is the same as the formerly insecure site. After decades of search engine development, it looks like, at least to this layman, that hasn’t happened. You have to start afresh even when you have the most relevant site to the search.

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2 thoughts on “Switch to HTTPS, lose your number one and two search-engine ranking

  1. It’s worthwhile, but does take some work in Google and Bing Webmaster tools; fix your sitemaps; fix your canonical links; make sure that all IMAGES are also pointing to https; etc.

    I got some help from my web hosting company with changing all links to https: (though any external links could not be changed, if they were not already https:). Then claiming ownership and updating sitemaps came next. Eventually, it all came back up to the ranking it should’ve been.

  2. I’ve done all the updating of absolute links that I can find—sensibly, I tended to program with relative links. Fortunately, all the image links are relative so they are automatically HTTPS. I’ve never used a sitemap though, and somehow I managed to get to number one!
       I haven’t figured out how to work the Bing one yet; I seem to recall I got stuck somewhere and plain gave up. I will hand it to Google for having a Webmaster Tools site that is navigable (not attractive, but tolerable), and I had updated that with the new addresses.
       How long did it take you to get your ranking back?

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