Weekly SEO news: 9 February 2016
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Table of contents:

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Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Google: how to move from HTTP to HTTPS

In a post on Google+, Google's John Mueller explained the things that you should do if you are moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS on the same hostname.

Google and HTTPS

Step 1: add the HTTPS site to the search console

Add the HTTPS version of your site to Google's Search Console. There's nothing more you have to do in Google's Search Console. The 'change of address' setting does not apply for HTTP > HTTPS moves.

Step 2: test HTTPS without indexing it

Use 302 redirects and the rel=canonical attribute to HTTP if you want to test HTTPS without indexing it. The rel=canonical attribute does not guarantee that the HTTP URL is indexed. However, it is a strong signal for Google when picking the indexed URL.

Google does not cache 302 redirects. Do not cloak your website to Googlebot specifically. Further information about A/B testing can be found here.

Step 3: after the test, redirect your URLs to HTTPS

Use 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS and confirm the new version by adding a rel=canonical attribute on the HTTPS page (pointing to itself). Details can be found here.

Step 4: check 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.

Frequently asked questions

  • It is okay to have just some pages on HTTPS. You can start with some pages of your site, test them, and then add more pages. Moving your site in sections is fine.

  • There shouldn't be any ranking drops. Although fluctuations can happen with any bigger site change, Google's systems are good with HTTP > HTTPS moves.

  • Google accepts all modern security certificates that are accepted by modern browsers.

  • No PageRank is lost for 301 or 302 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS.

Google rankings

Moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS is a good idea if you want to make your website more secure. The ranking bonus of HTTPS sites is rather small at the moment.

Other factors have a much higher influence on the rankings of your site. For example, the website audit tool in SEOprofiler helps you to make sure that your web pages do not contain critical errors. If you haven't done it yet, try SEOprofiler now:

Try SEOprofiler now

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
Google showing "including results for" feature for navigational queries

"Google has forever shown 'including results for' at the top of the search results for misspellings but now it seems to be trying to be even more smarter. It is taking queries and thinking you are looking for a brand and suggests the navigational query. If you search for [face] you get results for Facebook."

GoogleGoogle: AMP pages not in regular search just yet

"At the moment, we're not showing AMP pages in regular search just yet. We'll get started around late February.
In the beginning, we'll show them in a carousel with news-like content;  knowing our engineers, we'll add other types quickly afterwards. [...]

In general, AMP pages are connected on a per-page basis (there's a 'web' page equivalent to each AMP page). You can, of course, also make AMP-only pages too."

What’s next, as Google’s head of search leaves & its machine learning chief takes over?

"After 15 years, Google search chief Amit Singhal is moving on. In his place, machine learning head John Giannandrea is taking over. The rise of the machines? [...]

RankBrain might be able to handle processing more and more of the various signals that are currently analyzed through hand-written code to improve the Google algorithm. Already, according to Google, it’s supposedly doing some of this. But it seems unlikely that overnight, the machines will take over."

GoogleGoogle has penalized a link network in Japan

"After being quiet for over a year on link network penalties, Google says it has penalized a large, Japanese-based link network. [...]

The last time Google officially confirmed hitting a link network with a penalty was back in November 2014, when Google targeted a Polish-based link network. Google did take action on many link networks back in 2014 but has focused more of their attention, at least communication-wise, on mobile spam and redirects."

Fake online locksmiths may be out to pick your pocket, too

"Odds are good that when you search Google for someone
to help you get into your home or car, results will include
poorly trained subcontractors who will squeeze you for cash. [...]

These ghosts don’t just game search results. They dominate AdWords, Google’s paid advertising platform. Nearly all of those ads promise '$19 service,' or thereabouts, a suspiciously low sum, given that “locksmith”-related ads cost about $30 or so per click, depending on the area."

Search engine newslets

  • Yandex rolls out mobile-friendly algorithm in Russia, code name Vladivostok.
  • Google to deliver wrong 'top' search results to would-be jihadis.
  • EU Commission and United States agree on new framework for transatlantic data flows: EU-US Privacy Shield.
3. Recommended resources


SEOprofiler helps you to get high rankings on Google and more customers. It offers all the tools that you need:

  • automatic weekly website audits
  • tools for keyword research and analysis
  • competitive intelligence tools
  • automated ranking checks
  • website analytics
  • tools for spam-free link building
  • link disinfection tool
  • social media monitoring
  • white-label reports (web-based and PDF)
  • AdWords Profiler and Ranking Profiler
  • and much more.

Back to table of contents - Visit SEOprofiler.com
4. Previous articles
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