Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Maria Patterson on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, April 12, 2018).

Https running alongside http pages

Took on a website`s SEO today that appears to have had https running alongside http pages since 2006. The canonicals were pointing to the http pages though. I can see this using WayBack Machine and viewing source.

However a well meaning designer recently saw in about Jan this year that the site had http and https alongside each other and redirected the http to the https and changed the canonicals and the sitemaps to https. However, he did not sort any of the internal links or add https to GA or GSC and will not as he says he did the first bit as a "favour" to the owner to avoid duplicate content.

My question: Would there have been duplicate content if the canonicals were http?

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Michael Martinez: This is not the duplicate content people should be hunting for. Google has long said that it will collapse obvious duplicate content into one set of canonical URLs.
  • Jenny Halasz: yes, but if you`re sending conflicting signals, you can easily end up destroying your internal link value.
  • Michael Martinez: Jenny Halasz I agree with you in the general sense but given what the developer did in this case I don`t think this site will send a mixed signal.
  • Jenny Halasz: if both the https and the http version were live, but both were canonicaled to http, no there would not be duplicate content caused by the protocol. However, as the designer correctly noticed, https should be the preferred protocol. However your questi...Lihat Lainnya
  • Maria Patterson: Agreed that https would be my preferred protocol too. He changed the canonical on the https pages from http to https and did nothing with internal links but after a short email exchange has now agreed tofinish the job.
  • Michael Martinez: If the site is stored in an SQL database AND if the data is not too large, you can download a copy of it, open it in a text editor like wordpad, and use a global search and replace to update all the internal links to use "https". Keep a backup copy of the original database. Practice a little bit before uploading a new file. I normally change "http://example-dot-com" to "http://www-dot-example-dot-com" before converting to the "https" version. This cuts down on redirect traffic (but you will always need the redirects).
  • Maria Patterson: Thanks Michael I have used that method before too.
  • Jenny Halasz: And if it`s on wordpress, use the Velvet Blues plugin. So freaking easy to use.
  • Maria Patterson: Jenny Halasz Will give that a look over thanks
  • Travis Bailey: You *can* edit SQL files with a text editor, but you risk corrupting the database. Use phpMyAdmin when you manipulate SQL files, and you significantly reduce that risk.
  • Michael Martinez: Travis Bailey I am surprised anyone thought I was suggesting editing raw SQL datafiles. I guess I have been downloading them (via PhpMyAdmin) for so many years I just didn`t think it needed explanation. Sorry
  • Roger Montti: FileZilla has a bug that will corrupt the download of files that don`t have a file extension ending. It`s a wrong setting that comes as the default in FileZilla. So you have to know to fix this wrong setting. Corrupts the download of db files...
  • Michael Martinez: Roger Montti When using PhpMyAdmin the files are downloaded and uploaded directly from the admin panel (and they always have a ".sql" extension).
  • Roger Montti: Yeah, just stating that FileZilla has a bug that may explain why FTP downloads corrupt.
  • Travis Bailey: People still use FTP? ;)
  • Ryan Gardiner: Travis Bailey Why wouldn`t they? 🤔
  • Alan Bleiweiss: I guarantee you that claims "not to worry" are bullshit if someone has not done a proper investigation into that unique site. I have had several clients where there WAS duplication. Just because Google is good at "figuring it all out", their system is far from perfect even when you do everything properly on your end, though they do much worse when conflicting signals exist. Including random ignoring of canonicals, mixed indexing of both http and https, and more. This is why it`s vital to ensure consistency of signals. Never trust Google to "figure it all out" on their own.
  • Maria Patterson: Thanks Alan making sure signals don`t conflict going forward
  • Michael Martinez: "Would there have been duplicate content if the canonicals were http?" <-- In this case, NO. The redirects "fixed" any potential problem, and making the new canonical declarations consistent with the redirects ensured the "signals" are consistent to the search engine. Because the internal links were not updated the search engine would have to follow the redirects but it DOES get that sorted out in the end (I have redirected hundreds of sites -- never have had a problem).
  • Dumb SEO Questions: I echo all above. When they were running separately Gbot would have done an okay job (not fully) of figuring it out, but when it was partially migrated, thats when the problems begin. I would work on correcting the migration to https then show the result to the dev with a friendly backhand.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, April 12, 2018).

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