This is a record of an updated that was posted on Google+ by John Mueller. Have posted here as an easy resource guide on what to do when migrating your website to https.
What’s missing? Let me know in the comments and I’ll expand this over time, perhaps it’s even worth a blog post or help center article. Note that these are specific to moving an existing site from HTTP to HTTPS on the same hostname. Also remember to check out our help center at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6073543
# Do I need to set something in Search Console? No, just add the HTTPS site there. The change-of-address setting doesn’t apply for HTTP -> HTTPS moves.
# How can we do an A/B test? Don’t cloak to Googlebot specifically, use 302 redirects + rel=canonical to HTTP if you want to test HTTPS but not have it indexed. Don’t block via robots.txt . More about A/B testing at https://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ch/2012/08/website-testing-google-search.html (302 redirects aren’t cached.)
# Will the rel=canonical guarantee that the HTTP URL is indexed? No, but it’s a very strong signal when picking the indexed URL.
# What’s the next step after testing?
Follow our site-move documentation at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6033049.
Use 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS, confirm the new version by adding a rel=canonical on the HTTPS page, pointing to itself, and submit sitemaps including both HTTP & HTTPS URLs with new change-dates (in the long run, just keep the HTTPS sitemap).
# What about the robots.txt file? The HTTPS site uses the HTTPS robots.txt file. Check that it’s reachable or serves a 404 result code, and check that your HTTP URLs aren’t blocked by the HTTP robots.txt file.
# Is it OK to have just some pages on HTTPS? Yes, no problem! Start with a part, test it, add more.
# Should I move everything together, or is it fine to do sections? Moving in sections is fine.
# Will I see a drop in search? Fluctuations can happen with any bigger site change. We can’t make any guarantees, but our systems are usually good with HTTP -> HTTPS moves.
# Which certificate do I need? For Google Search, any modern certificate that’s accepted by modern browsers is acceptable.
# Do I lose “link juice” from the redirects? No, for 301 or 302 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS no PageRank is lost.
# Will we see search keywords in Google Analytics when we’re on HTTPS? This won’t change with HTTPS, you can see the search queries in Search Console.
# How can I test how many pages were indexed? Verify HTTP / HTTPS separately in Search Console, use Index Status for a broad look, or the sitemaps indexed counts for sitemap URLs.
# How long will a move from HTTP to HTTPS take? There are no fixed crawl frequencies, it depends on the size of your site, and the speed of crawling that’s possible. The move takes place on a per-URL basis.
Hope this helps clarify some of the open questions! Let me know if there’s anything missing.
Have recently stepped away from the professional agency life, but still looking to be involved with SEO & digital marketing.
I was working for Jellyfish Digital Marketing Agency, one of the top tier UK digital marketing agencies from 2011 to the start of 2015 as a SEO & Social Manager. At my peak I was managing SEO client campaigns with monthly billings of £60,000 plus in revenue.
My rate card WAS £100 per hour ($150 USD) and we always delivered value and a return on that investment.
It was a joy and pleasure to work for Jellyfish, both internally with my colleagues and friends but also in respect to the clients we served. Good memories.
Here is a list of some of the clients I have served on an agency and private basis.
As good as it was I have now decided to step away from it and follow my own business interests. I am taking the extensive digital marketing experience and applying it to a traditional bricks and mortar business model. It is going to be an exciting journey and I am sure a prosperous one. Everyone needs to follow their own path and mine has just begun.
That said I still have a passion for SEO, so it is with one eye forward and one ear to the ground that I am always on the lookout for new clients. Let me be clear here, it is not about growing my own digital agency, no it is about me doing this because i still enjoy it. I get a buzz out of SEO and fixing sites to make their visibility and traffic increase. It is an old cliche but now it is not about quantity, it is about quality.
I definitely bring value and it is that value i want to establish for a few select clients. What areas of digital marketing and SEO is that value defined in?
Whilst value is clearly one of the major fundamentals of business, for me it is more about building long term relationships and delivering on client expectations. So let me be your SEO and Social Manager today!
• Leading and Supporting a SEO & Social team on an ongoing basis.
• Reporting to heads of departments.
• Collaboration with internal specialists such as SEO engineers and copywriters to facilitate the delivery of client or internal projects.
• Produce & manage keyword research, technical, content, link and social audits – analysis and documentation.
• Make recommendations to clients regarding optimisation, or implement directly when appropriate.
• Guide and partake in offsite activity such as authority optimisation and link generation.
• Work closely with internal Account Directors’ and Account Managers’ to develop integrated digital strategies.
• Project managing activity and processes required to effectively run SEO & Social campaigns.
• Producing client facing reports, studies and presentations to brand standards.
• Increasing my own and the client’s knowledge in the field of SEO & Social Media.
• Working closely with the Heads of Departments to plan natural search campaign strategies and deliver an excellent SEO service to clients.
• Nurture and develop relationships with clients for the day-to-day requirements of search campaigns.
• Analysing the performance of campaigns, identifying strategic opportunities, facilitating change in order to hit and exceed client expectations and KPIs.
• Provide SEO training to internal teams and clients.
• Stay abreast of industry trends and all applicable technologies, including developments in – SEO, social media, PPC, analytics, online marketing, E-commerce and online consumer behaviour. less
Technical SEO is an aspect of SEO that clients often fail to see the real value in. All to often they want to jump straight in to progress a keyword target or build and acquire links as part of their SEO strategy.
Technical SEO if implemented right can be a massive quick win, more so than what any link acquisitions may achieve. Done wrongly it can be devastating for a site’s SEO visibility.
A technical SEO audit and recommendations can increase SEO visibility up to 15-20% once implemented. This is not unusual if a site exists in a poor state of affairs. All to often the focus is around the aesthetics and creative appeal of a site rather than the SEO migration protocol or technical aspects. Don’t be one of those webmaster that suffers because of it.
An example below of how Technical SEO can go wrong and right for a site.
Wrote a supporting post as to why Why Technical SEO matters – 2015
More often brands are expanding and having an international presence with a diverse range of customer groups. With international expansion comes a need to achieve the most impact within a targeted region. The management and marketing departments will have their own strategic approach to achieve this but it is how you align that from a SEO perspective so as you:
An example of this was with a client that was a luxury hotel group with hotels and resorts in Mauritius and the Maldives. They were looking to rebrand the existing group site as well as it’s individual hotel sites. 7 sites in total across French and English language groups.
We had to map their existing website landscape and propose a new site architecture to tie in with the rebrand. Addressed technical SEO issues, keyword research, recommended page structures and content creation, international hreflang SEO mark-up configuration to comply with the French and English areas of the site. Also ensured a url mapping protocol to clean up pages for the rebrand launch.
Before the video snippets update of July 2014, i could rank a hosted video snippet for all of my clients.
What is the difference between a hosted video snippet and a YouTube snippet? When it was a hosted video snippet the click of the user would go straight through to the webpage hosting the video as opposed to YouTube. It was a really targeted way of
Video snippets on the SERP landscape have changed with 82% of results now favouring YouTube videos.
— Daryl Cygler (@DJCygler) May 15, 2015
That is fine, as SEO evolves so does the approach to deliver visibility and traffic.
Given the current SERP landscape for video snippets, YouTube videos are now favoured as a platform and with the right approach they to can be ranked to a keyword target. That said not all video should be pushed through YouTube by default, other platforms offer keyword rich and schema mark-up that surpass YouTube for on-page value.
Check out my YouTube Channel on Making Biltong. Here is were i play around and test stuff related to video optimisation.
Your video content and audience will determine your placement and distribution strategy. Get in touch to discuss.
Image optimisation is an area of SEO that clients fall to exploit with massive opportunities for big wins. Images are playing more and more into what was the traditional SERP landscape. Also lots of social platforms are now implementing more rich media so as the enhance the user experience. Ultimately images allow us to digest a theme quicker, the intention is to capture the user with a special image and that image once optimised can appear in multiple social platforms not just in the traditional SERPS.
Here is a whole blog post with examples of Images within the SERPs. I think will be surprised by the potential of your images.
Images with the social sphere are equally important. Image optimaisation includes tagging shareable images on-page and off-page so as to preview an image to accompany a social update.
I will work with your developers to ensure the correct implementation of social cards so as when social updates are done images are integrated seemlessly in the content delivery.
Social platforms have the ability to drive masses of traffic to your website. If a particular piece of content has the attributes that connect with your audience there is every chance they will naturally want to share it. Humans by our social nature like to share content that informs, educates or provokes an emotional response. It is these social interactions that enables opportunites to understand and address an audience.
Social and SEO Synergy –These two marketing processes are virtuous and reinforce each other in research, content creation and promotion.
SEO campaigns can get added traction through the social nature of sharing. The social voice of a campaign can lead to more exposure and more opportunities for engagement. Increased engagement often leads to a greater chance of successful link acquisitions.
Social monitoring in the first instance helps a business understand the conversational landscape within a particular area of interest. By mapping these conversations it helps with brainstorming and generation of content creation. Content creation that addresses the need to answer questions or inform.
Brand monitoring is another great example on identifying what people are saying online about your business. Do you actively listen to what customers and 3rd parties are saying about your brand? You may be surprised.
The first thing that attracted me to online marketing was the ability to obtain and analyse data. I had a five year stint in food retailing and sometimes my marketing and advertising efforts were really hard to measure and gauge success on. That was in comparison to the level of spend i had committed.
I still remember my first viewing of a Google Analytic’s dashboard, my world and mind just exploded with excitement. Excitement at being able to measure and benchmark every action. Suddenly this was hard data that could help you understand what worked and what didn’t. Google Analytics is still may preferred platform of choice in understanding online performance.
Reading any web analytics platform comes down to three fundamental principles. I call it the “ABC Attribution Model”.
A – Audience & Acquisition
B – Behaviour
C – Conversions
How you acquire users, their demographics and location, behavior on your site after acquisition, and their conversion patterns. Understand all these aspects in synergy and you better understand your website and the user journey it delivers for your visitors.
Held a Google Analytics Individual Qualification for 18 months, but has since expired. On the list of things to do, that is get qualified again.
Google Tag Manager is a relatively new platform that allows snippets of code to be implemented without the constant need for developers. So as an example, you would place Google Tag Manager (GTM) code on your site once, then be able to add supporting GA code easily and instantly from that point on. Works equally well for other software snippets of code that needs to be added for tracking purposes or integration.
If you are looking for GTM or GA integration on your site as well as data discovery and user insights, please get in touch to discuss.
SEO BRAGGING RIGHTS – Once had the first 64 pages of organic listings on Google Shopping for a HUGE high volume generic keyword. This was also strengthened with position 1 listings for product modifiers attached to the top generic keyword. They were good days.
The organic shopping ecosystem has now evolved into a paid model.
What is interesting is that the paid model is still underpinned by a similar data specification and feed structure from the old organic days. So it is with great insight that i am able to apply historic understandings to the paid version of Google Shopping. Whilst being a paid model, bids, visibility, tracking and money can be lost with under optimised shopping feeds. Let me optimise your Google Product Listing Shopping ads for maximum exposure.
Conversion Rate Optimisation or CRO is very much part of digital marketing and in particular SEO.
Google understands the time a user spends on a webpage having come from the search results. If a user should bounce (exit) from that webpage back to the search results straight away, Google feels the result did not deliver a good user experience and as such may not have the relevance for that particular search term. This lack of relevance, user experience and time spent on page can all impact on rankings for webpages.
SEO can deliver users to a page, however it is the on page experience that determines if a conversion take place. All marketing activity being constant and changing nothing else except on-page aspects to influence conversions, imagine if you were able to convert an additional 1% of visitors. That would be a massive increase in revenue straight up.
I look to structure webpages with SEO best practices in mind but the need also exists for CRO best practices to provide a better user experience and deliver key metrics (goals, conversions) from a business perspective.
It is the consideration of both aspects that make for a big sky thinking SEO consultant.
I have been using the Bigcommerce ecommerce platform in conjunction with SEO clients for over 3 years. Straight out of the box it is a platform that works really from an SEO perspective.
Customer growth is normally testament to how good a product is and it seems to hold true for Bigcommerce clients because the business has had a pretty explosive growth cycle. As i said, it’s SEO out of the box solution is good but can always be improved on. With that I noticed a quick SEO hack that can be implemented by all Bigcommerce users that will bring greater search relevance to your organisation or brand.
The goal is to distinguish between your company brand and product brands to add better SEO value for the search engines.
Microdata is a mark-up language that is readable by search engines/computers. Microdata exists in many different formats such as RDFa, JSON-LD, and Schema. There is also computer readable formats like Microformats that achieve the same thing but for the purpose of this post we will be concentrating on Schema microdata mark-up because it is what is supplied as part of the Bigcommerce platform as standard.
So what is Schema? Schema.org was a collaboration between all the major search engines Google, Bing and Yandex. Once computers, browser and search engines understand these mark-up attributes they are able to provide richer search results on the search landscape. These rich snippets help users make a more informed decision on which web pages to click thru to.
We have all seen them, and clicked on them without necessarily knowing what they are. For the majority they exist for product sale information, customer reviews, recipes, events and movies to name a few. That said, the current schema protocol already has over 655 different attributes, this continues to grow as and when a new attribute is agreed by the governing members. These are attributes that can be tagged to a webpage to add value to a computer so as to add value to the user. When I say add value to a machine what does that mean?
Humans understand language and the context of that language whether it is relating to a name, place, slang or event. Machines find this a lot harder. The classic example is from the Terminator movie franchise. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a terminator is being the taught the value of human interaction and sarcasm from a young John Connor. This is instead of a monotone response in a purely machine driven way. Some may argue Arnie is actually a machine anyway. My point is it is hard for machines to understand native language in the context that it is delivered.
A more practical example can be shown with the actor River Phoenix, showing my age now. This term presents multiple variations as to why a machine may find it hard to understand the relevance of this term.
These variations present too much of a challenge for a computer to understand the real context of the term. By adding a ‘person’ schema tag around the code associated with the name it defines an attribute to the phrase, that is River Phoenix is a person. It is these schema attributes that helping machines break down the web and making it easier for them to digest. The biggest depository of computer markup code is Wikipedia, be it in a microformat mode. Another great example of microdata/microformats in action is within Google’s Knowledge Graph. The knowledge graph with the aid of microdata/microformats mark-up is able to understand entities and relationships between them.
Schema tags around product ratings, reviews, price, and availability need to be implemented on your ecommerce store in order to add value for all concerned. Value for the consumer, and value for the vendor as rich snippets help a webpage convert better for a sale or action.
If you have a Bigcommerce theme that was built after March 26, 2015, you should already be up to date. If you applied a Bigcommerce theme to your store before March 26, 2015, you’ll need to update your theme. If not, you should go to this Bigcommerce support page so as to understand how to update your theme to suit or just to check that the relevant code is present of your site. Free and premium themes made by Bigcommerce now come with Schema.org microdata markup language already built into product pages
Their schema html code mark-up is below.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Product”>
<meta itemprop=”name” content=”%%GLOBAL_ProductName%%”>
<meta itemprop=”description” content=”%%Page.MetaDescription%%”>
<meta itemprop=”image” content=”%%GLOBAL_ThumbImageURL%%”>
<div itemprop=”aggregateRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/AggregateRating”>
<meta itemprop=”worstRating” content=”1″>
<meta itemprop=”bestRating” content=”5″>
<meta itemprop=”ratingValue” content=”%%GLOBAL_Rating%%”>
<meta itemprop=”reviewCount” content=”%%GLOBAL_ProductNumReviews%%”>
<div itemprop=”offers” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer”>
<meta itemprop=”price” content=”%%GLOBAL_ProductPrice%%”>
<meta itemprop=”priceCurrency” content=”USD” />
<link itemprop=”availability” href=”http://schema.org/InStock” />
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”>
<meta itemprop=”name” content=”%%GLOBAL_BrandName%%”>
You may not be a developer but hopefully you can see how they have broken up the product information into different schema categories.
Product Related Information
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Product>
Customer Review Related Information
<div itemprop=”aggregateRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/AggregateRating”>
Product offer Related Information
<div itemprop=”offers” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer”>
Organisation Related Information
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”>
We tested this particular product url,
In the interest of clarity, the organisation is Fuel Equipment Specialists and the product is an Alemlube portable diesel tank that can be transported in the back of small commercial vehicles.
You can see how the particular html schema code has been processed by Google. Take note of the categories and the descriptions, all rendered form the schema code.
All very straight forward. WRONG, there is one element of this code classification that is fundamentally broken, the differentiation between organisation and brand.
Referring to schema, this is what they understand is the definition of Organisation and Brand.
Thing > Organization
An organization such as a school, NGO, corporation, club, etc.
Thing > Intangible > Brand
A brand is a name used by an organization or business person for labeling a product, product group, or similar.
From this we have two different distinctions.
What your business needs to understand is where do we fit within this definition? Ask yourself this,
A clear distinction needs to be made between what is your company organisation and a 3rd party brand.
With the current code recommendations you can see that the mark-up has Alemlube as an organisation, when in fact it is a brand. It is a brand that the company Fuel Equipment Specialists is selling, so this can be misleading. Referencing back to the original code you can see the mark-up is referring to organization.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”>
If you change the reference to ‘Brand’, it switches the focus of the category from organisation to a brand.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Brand”>
Clear organisation and brand distinction has been established.
Another tip I would recommend is having schema organisation mark-up in conjunction with logo, address, phone number on any page that has company contact details and a logo on it. This helps reinforce your organisation structure in the first instance.
With these items in place you can see how the distinction between organisation and brand has been established across your website.
A recent Reddit callout has been able to rank a potato image on page 1 of Google across multiple geographic locations all due to the power of the community driving the viral nature of the thread.
Reddit the self pronounced “front page of the web” has been a massive platform for users from the early years of the web. Its community is vast and spans mulitple intertest and following all contained within sub-reddits. These sub-reddits all contain strcit protocoils and proceedures strcilty administered by the moderator gate keepers. Crooss them at your peril.
Content shared within these reddit thread have the ability to go viral within the space of a very short time given the nature of the community. Sometines threads started within a sub-reddit break main stream and make it on to the front page due to the sharing nature of the post. I think you get the picture it is an increadible powerful platform from community perspective. The power and voice of reddit also seems to feed outwardly with Google news syndication reddit posts into it’s news platform.
A recent dare (experiment) by DANNYonPC has shown exactly how the power of Reddit can influence Google and not necessary in a relevant way. Danny posted a thread that was bound to get a response.
The challenge originally was to show (rank) the potato within image search for ‘Gaming Console’. In fact within 9 hours of the post going life it had over 4126 upvotes with over 480 comments from people enjoying the thread. Some have show great passion around the cause and from an SEO’s perspective the thread has shown great relevance to the cause, especially these contributions.
All in jest, but you could argue, totally on topic.
As i said before, the dare was originally posted with the intention to rank the potato within the image search feature, however it has gone one better and is now sitting proudly at the top of Page 1 of Google due to it being syndicated via the Google News platform.
Lets all rejoice the power of people and potatoes.
No doubt really given that the US of A is the home of the Reddit platform. My curiosity drove me to check what was going on globally, assuming each countries news stories are underpinned by local content not just global events.
I have checked globally via local proxies and this is how it stands within the major countries for Google.
Changed my browser language settings so as to be totally German. No spuds…..
Changed my browser language settings so as to be totally Swedish. No spuds…..
Changed my browser language settings so as to read English content. Bingo POTATO…..
In fact to save you the pain of duplication i observed the same results with the French search results as well. Local language browser settings turned on, no potato, English language turned on, potato identified.
That single Reddit thread had the power to be syndicated across multiple regions within the news feature, on page 1. POWERFUL STUFF
What i find interesting is that Google is syndicating Reddit post in the first instance. Does it potentially syndicate the platform as a whole? I can understand the principle behind it because sometimes articles will appear first on Reddit before anywhere else and from that gain a viral nature to them. But Reddit also has an anti-establishment nature to it and if a practical joke is going to be had, it will be also be also be launched on Reddit, as the potato gaming console demonstrates.
In fact it has been taken to a rather sinister level because now people are trying to rank a Nazi flag for the term ‘COMCAST’ and the upvotes are pouring in.
Don’t think this one will work…….
Overall, jokes aside this has reinforced yet again how powerful Reddit is and the influence it can have from an SEO perspective.
Reddit needs to be part of your SEO Strategy.
PS. When the POTATO gaming console is launched please let me know where i can get one, they look “AWESOME”.
Being from a more mature generation i remember the process of going through the yellow pages to look for business contacts. It was not just about the listing but also the location and size of the advert on the page. The bigger the better , all in the effort to capture the searches attention. Yellow pages (offline) has since died a slow and painful death for the owners. Why, because people are searching online for instant results and with the aid of mobile phones getting very geo-specific listings realtime. All very powerful stuff. Do you want to be part of this? Do you want this traffic?
Local business need to focus in on local search for products and services. With that Google have an excellent portal that every local business should be part of in order to increase their visibility online. Given that Google owns roughly 90% of the UK search market it makes sense to be in a platform that will give your business the greatest opportunity for marketing success. GOOGLE MY BUSINESS is a great platform that enables your business to do just that. Long story short, it enables red pin listing to be shown pride of place for relevant service and location based searches. These are shown within the main search result as Local SEO Listing and within the map feature and highlight services, contact details as well as customer reviews. All features represent great opportunities for INCREASING your businesses local exposure.
I won’t go into the process of filling out the listing details itself as it is all quite explanatory within the Google portal. What i will say is local business websites only have a few pages within their site, please ensure your website homepage is as local and service centric as possible. Some tips for that below.
With all this optimised relevance also ensure your Google listing is pointing to your homepage as this will give the most relevance in favour of the listing.
Hope this all adds value, you can refer to this Google guide for optimising your local webpage for the best chance of being seen with your little red pins.
Hope this all adds value. Enjoy being busy 🙂