The No.1 Mistake In Companies’ SEO and online marketing

no1 seo mistake

When you start your business and create a new e-commerce website, naturally, you try to get as many visitors to it as you can.

You work on your digital marketing plan, hire a new social media expert, outsource PayPerClick campaigns on AdWords or Facebook Ads, and pour money into other marketing campaigns.

One of the biggest mistakes that many online companies make before launching their entire marketing campaign, is not making sure that their website is secure and that all URLs resolve to their proper destinations.

Http to Https Issues – Detection and Repair

Today all E-commerce websites should resolve to https, which is a much more secure protocol.

In fact, Google and other search engines give a preference to websites running on a secure protocol. HTTPS is now a ranking factor so when you switch to https correctly, your website’s rankings should increase.

Here is how to check your website for http/https issues and correct any errors.

Proceed with the following steps

Open your browser and try to access your website by typing your site’s address in the URL box at the top. Let’s start with the with http first

For example http://yourwebsitehere.com

If your website loads fine and next to the URL field in the browser it says ‘Secure’ or highlights in green, or displays a green lock, it means that your site is actually using https.

When your initial http request is automatically redirected to a much safer https protocol, then this is good, this is how it should be.

To confirm that the https redirection works well across your entire website, follow the same step above with a few internal pages.

  1. Copy the URL of an internal page
  2. Paste it into the browser URL field
  3. Check if it is https. If it is https://, modify it to http://
  4. Click Enter or Return to reload the page

If the page loads fine and the URL automatically changes to https (secure), then we can assume that the redirections also work well on individual pages.

Deciding on the inclusion of www in your website’s URL

You would not believe how many websites have issues with bad redirections between http and https.

In addition to this, there are often issues with the inclusion/exclusion of WWW in the URL of the website.

To illustrate, you could land on a homepage that looks like this

http://www.webdictionary.com

You click on an internal link and it takes you to

http://webdictionary.com/newwords/

Then, from that page, you click a link to go back to the homepage and it loads

http://webdictionary.com

Do you see a problem here?

Google will see it, and as result, they might even penalize the site for having duplicate content. Their algorithms might index the site with both www and without www and see them as two sites that have the same content. Boom, penalty, and sudden drop in rankings.

The type of mixed interlinking illustrated above usually happens when different webmasters or developers work on the same project. Some believe that absolute links should include the www, and some think that the shorter URL is better. There are also those that just don’t care until the SEO team starts to complain.

The truth is that it really doesn’t matter whether one uses the www in the URL or not. Personally, I prefer not to use it, but it’s really down to personal preference. Some companies like to leave the www part for aesthetic purposes.

Using relative links internally usually offers the best solution.

The most important thing is to keep the linking architecture uniform throughout the entire website.

There may be legitimate reasons why some traffic may be directed to the www version. For example, to divide and measure different marketing campaigns such as online and offline (street ads). Yet it’s generally easier, safer, and better for the domain PR to choose one option and stick to it.

The good news is that the www/non-www issues can be quickly fixed with a few lines of code in the .htaccess file while fixing your http/https issues.

Of course, the recommendation illustrated below is only a quick fix for search engines and your website visitors.

You should still change all the links internally to relative links or links with your chosen structure.

How to fix your https accessibility issues

To make sure that your website works correctly and that all the internal pages load the secure https address, you will need to add a few rewriting rules in your .htaccess file.

The .htaccess file sits in the home directory of your website installation.

Open your .htaccess file in a simple text editor. Before editing this file make sure to back up the original version. If something goes wrong you will be able to easily rewrite the changes.

To redirect all traffic from http to https including the www version, add the following lines:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.yourwebsitehere.com/$1 [R,L]

If the RewriteEngine On line is already present in your .htaccess file and there are a few lines of rewrite rules underneath it, you can simply add the remaining two lines to them.

These modifications to the .htaccess file may not work for every website.

Some websites, depending on the underlying technology that is used to build and maintain them, may require a completely different approach or simply different lines of code.

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