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  • HTTPS Now A Page Rank Signal

    So Google just announced that they are going to make the use of HTTPS one of the signals they use for page ranking.

    Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: HTTPS as a ranking signal

    So would just changing the Store URL on the Store Settings page to use HTTPS all I need to do to have all pages on our site encrypted? What are the implications, side effects, etc.?

  • #2
    Since this is so new, probably the new resource would be the Webmaster Forum topic on it:
    https://productforums.google.com/for...ng/TIFPpqk61HU

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    • #3
      This is interesting and sort of annoying.

      Visitors come into the standard 3dcart store as HTTP. It only switches over to HTTPS when you go to checkout. The Robots.txt file disallows crawling of HTTPS and 3dcart finally (good in my opinion) implemented canonical tags to reduce/eliminate duplicate content penalties.

      So now what?

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      • #4
        Hi Everyone, For those of you that don't know me, I'm the CMO here at 3dcart, and I am one of the resident "old guys" here. I've got 20 years experience in eCommerce, so I 'm going to tell you what I think about this.

        First and foremost, if you wanted to take this approach and go completely SSL for your website on 3dcart, you can!!! BUT you have to be extremely careful with the settings because one mistake and you can drop your entire website out of the index.

        The initial "statement" says... Even though this change has been released in it's first version to the algorithm, "Fewer than 1% of global queries will see a lift" and "this release carries less weight than high quality content"... So this being said, I would wait awhile before I would go to a complete SSL website.

        If you are the type of person that just can't wait, these are the things you need to know.

        - You must have a private SSL, do not use the standard shared SSL of "domain.3dcartstores.com".

        - The SSL needs to be a 2048 bit key certificate minimum. The $79 Rapid SSL does meet this requirement. It does not state this on our website, but it does meet the requirement.

        - You MUST change your robots.txt file to allow #SSL to be indexed. This can be done in the SEO Tools section of the Store Manager. I highly recommend you do not touch robots.txt if you are unsure of what you are doing.

        - After that, you would need to change Settings > General > Store Settings, at the very bottom of the page - Store URL and Secure URL would both be your SSL... https://www.*******.com

        - After saving that change, In marketing, SEO Tools, you would need to make sure the STORE URL shows the https:// and the IP Canonicalization is checked. This makes sure that the unsecure pages would 301 redirect to the SSL.

        After all of this, you would then need to update the sitemap. Create a new profile in Google Webmaster Tools for https://www.******.com and resubmit the sitemap.

        Even after doing all of this, you WILL GET AN ERROR saying that your robots.txt file does not allow access to https. This is because Google caches your robots.txt file. Google most likely won't update the cached robots.txt for about 7 days.

        My personal recommendation is to NOT turn your website full SSL. It is too early in the game. Give it a few months, and keep watching the topic... If you have any questions, feel free to contact our SEO team at sem (at) 3dcart.com. It will create a ticket for our SEO team.

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        • #5
          Thanks for that great summary, Joe. Really helpful.

          We're definitely not considering making any changes on this front for some time to come. Like you said, best to wait and see how this stuff shakes out.

          I hope you and 3dcart will continue to monitor this situation and post if you find important information that would be helpful to all of us.

          Thanks.

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          • #6
            Thanks for that wealth of information, Joe. I am of the standby and wait opinion.
            http://www.pack-secure.com

            Packaging and Shipping Supply Specialists

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            • #7
              You're welcome everyone... Positively... If I think it becomes a "real factor" because I can actually see evidence of better ranking (and people like me have tons of websites we test with)... You bet I'll post the data here. Right now, I just think this is all too new to take the risk of making a mistake for something that will effect "less than 1% of search worldwide"... I have to say though, even the Wall Street Journal did an article on this announcement yesterday. We just have to keep watching it.

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              • #8
                Thanks a lot for the information Joe. It's very helpful.

                My wife and I looked around at a few dozen major ecommerce sites and the only one we found that currently uses https by default was victorias secret. I think it will be a while before it becomes much of a ranking factor.

                It's a little annoying but I understand why Google is doing it, "encrypt everything" is a much easier way to secure things than picking and choosing what pages need encryption. For them its much easier to tell if a site has basic security if the entire thing uses https instead of trying to figure out if the right checkout pages do.

                Personally I'm going to wait a while until Google updates their own tools and systems to better support this. If they really want companies to adopt this I believe they will roll out an easy to use "switch my site results/crawling to https" in the future instead of the current method, which treats it like a domain name change.

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                • #9
                  This is a rankings nightmare waiting to happen if sites start converting all of their standard URLs to https ones. Any backlinks you have will lose some of their weight, since they are likely linking to the http version of each URL - all of which would have to be re-directed via 301s to the https version if you want to cling to what is left of the authority they are passing. I seriously doubt that this new minor ranking signal will have much, if any, effect on eCommerce sites. It WILL be a problem for sites on non-hosted shopping cart software that are not using any sort of SSL when customers get to pages where they enter sensitive information. I know that I have not seen a drop in rankings for any of my sites since this new signal was implemented.

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