The Truth About Full-site SSL Conversion Search Engine Performance and Ranking Drop
You just converted your entire website to SSL. This is a great step and necessary to stay on Google's good side. BUT, a week after the conversion you checked Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics and you see a drop in search engine metrics and your ranking numbers for key indicators are way down.
This looks alarming, but I have good news. It's normal and temporary.
It's not uncommon to see a temporary drop in search ranking and performance immediately after converting to full-site SSL. This is now a well-worn path that most sites have trodden since Google announced their shift to preferring secure websites.
In a nutshell, even though Google promotes shifting to SSL and ultimately rewards you for doing so, their own algorithms still don't treat the shift nicely. To the Google crawler, something changed on the pages. They treat an SSL change the same as any other change and reduce rankings slightly until they re-evaluate your website. The website SEOBlog has a pretty good explanation about situation. https://www.seoblog.com/2017/07/rankings-drop-https-ssl/
According to multiple sources, you should not only return to normal in a few weeks, but you should see an uptick across the board compared to pre-conversion numbers. There are a few things that can cause the drop to not fully recover. Fortunately, those are easily mitigated.
The two most common and impactful are...
- Improper redirects from http to https: Continuum takes care of this for you, so this is not a problem with your website. We are automatically redirecting all http traffic to https using a 301 redirect status.
- Mixing secure and insecure content on pages: This is one you will need to be careful about. If you source or pull content from other websites (images, scripts, etc), make certain that it is using a url beginning with https. Your browser will tell you clearly if something on the page is insecure and Google uses the same test. If they detect that a page isn't fully secure, they will drop the ranking which ultimately affects the entire website.