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Jonathan Schikowski
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I send people to websites.
I send people to websites.

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Full release of Webscraper
WebScraper , our utility for crawling a site and extracting data or archiving content, is now out of beta. There have been some serious enhancements over recent months, such as the ability to 'whitelist' (only crawl) pages containing a search term, the abil...

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We collected a few questions from news publishers related to HTTP to HTTPS site moves, but some of the answers are relevant to all webmasters who are considering going secure.
If you have more questions you'd like to see answered, we're listening!

Q: Should I move my site all at once to HTTPS, or bit by bit?
A: We recommend initially moving just a piece of the site to test any effects on traffic and search indexing. After that you can move the rest of your site all at once or in chunks.
When choosing the initial test section of the site, pick a section that changes less frequently and isn't significantly affected by frequent or unpredictable events.
Also keep in mind that while moving just one section is a great way to test your move, it's not necessarily representative of a whole site move when it comes to search. The more pages that you move, the more likely you'll encounter additional problems to solve. Careful planning can minimize problems.

Q: How long should I run my trial?
A: Plan for a few weeks to allow for crawling and indexing to pick up changes, plus time to monitor traffic.

Q: Even though we are starting with only a section, we plan to make the entire site available on HTTPS. To avoid indexing of the HTTPS content early, should we use redirects or rel=canonicals?
A: With redirects in place, you won't be able to test those pages from a technical point of view, so we'd recommend using rel=canonical.

Q: We reference our HTTP sitemaps in robots.txt. Should we update the robots.txt to include our new HTTPS sitemaps?
A: We recommend separate robots.txt files for HTTP and HTTPS, pointing to separate sitemap files for HTTP and HTTPS. We also recommend listing a specific URL in only one sitemap file.

Q: Which sitemap should map the section in the HTTPS trial?
A: You can create a separate sitemap just for the updated section of your site. This will enable you to track indexing of the trial section more precisely. Be sure not to duplicate these URLs in any other sitemaps, though.

Q: Are there any other specific things we need to add to the robots.txt for the HTTPS version?
A: No.

Q: Our HTTPS site redirects non-migrated pages back to HTTP. What should our sitemaps list? Should we list in our sitemaps both the HTTP and HTTPS URLs? What if in the test section the HTTP URLs redirect to HTTPS?
A: List all HTTP URLs in your HTTP sitemap, and all HTTPS URLs in your HTTPS sitemap, regardless of redirects when the user visits the page. Having pages listed in your sitemap regardless of redirects will help search engines discover the new URLs faster.

Q: If we set includeSubDomains in our HSTS header, which domains will that affect?
A: After you migrate your entire site to HTTPS, you can support HSTS preloading for extra security. To enable this, you must set the includeSubDomains directive in the HSTS header.
If the site www.example.com serves an HSTS header with includeSubdomains set, then it will apply to www.example.com and foo.www.example.com, but not example.com or foo.example.com.
Keep in mind however that HSTS adds complexity to your rollback strategy. Our recommendation is this:
1. Roll out HTTPS without HSTS first.
2. Start sending HSTS headers with a short max-age. Monitor your traffic both from users and other clients, and also dependants' performance, such as ads.
3. Slowly increase the HSTS max-age.
If HSTS doesn't affect your users and search engines negatively, you can, if you wish, ask your site to be added to the Chrome HSTS preload list (https://hstspreload.appspot.com/).

Q: We use a single Google News sitemap for our entire site. What do we do if we're migrating our site piece by piece?
A: If you want to use a Google News sitemap for the new HTTPS section, you will have to contact the News team (https://support.google.com/news/publisher/contact/update_domain) to let them know about the protocol change, and then in your HTTPS property in Search Console you can submit a new Google News sitemap (https://support.google.com/news/publisher/answer/74288) for each migrated HTTPS section of the site.

Q: Are there any specific recommendations for Google News Publisher Center (https://partnerdash.google.com/) with HTTPS migration?
A: Google News Publisher Center handles the HTTP->HTTPS moves transparently. In general you don't have to do anything from Google News perspective, unless you're also making use of News sitemaps. In that case, please get in touch with the News team and let them know about the change, https://support.google.com/news/publisher/contact/update_domain. You can also let the team know about changing sections, for example in case you're moving to HTTPS, you can specify that you're moving http://example.com/section to https://example.com/section .

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Planning on moving to HTTPS? Here are 13 FAQs! 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 ( 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.

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Google Chrome will now defer playback of autoplay media until the tab is foregrounded in the latest Dev Channel. This means no more "Where's that sound coming from?" moments when an ad for instance decides to autoplay in a tab you've specifically opened in the background.

Resources will still be preloaded if indicated but Chrome will delay the start of playback until you actually visit the tab.

This cool feature prevents obviously user annoyance but also conserves power as Chrome will only consume power once the tab is foregrounded.

Source: https://codereview.chromium.org/1292433002/
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Staying on top of your online presence can mean the difference between business as usual and new customers at your door. In fact, a recent study showed that consumers are nearly twice as likely to find a business reputable if it has more information on Google, such as opening hours and photos. But when companies don’t keep their online information up to date, it can create an unpleasant experience for people searching the web for information -- like if a customer arrives at a local business only to find that the address or operating hours have changed. 

We’re always trying to make it easier for customers to connect with businesses on Google. That’s why if you’re a business owner and you haven’t logged into your Google My Business account in over a year, you may receive an email from us soon asking you to sign in and confirm your business information. Just follow the steps in the email by simply logging into your Google My Business dashboard, then checking to make sure your information is up to date and submitting any changes if necessary. If your account remains inactive after receiving a notice from us, then it could run the risk of being de-verified, or in rare cases, removed from Google Maps. 

We recommend that all Google My Business users check on your business information by logging into your account at least once every six months -- doing this only takes a few seconds. It ensures that we’ve got the right information, and that customers can continue connecting with your business on Google Search and Maps. To get going, visit www.google.com/business. 
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