Replace HTTP Links with HTTPS
Rather than using redirects to replace internal HTTP links with HTTPS ones, Google says that replacing them is worthwhile. Here’s why.
According to Google Search Advocate John Mueller, you should always attempt to turn internal links to HTTP URLs into HTTPS versions. Mueller disagrees in a Reddit discussion, asking if it’s worth the hassle to swap internal HTTP links for HTTPS ones even when there are already redirects.
Proper redirects are better than replacing links, according to Gary Illyes of Google several years ago:
According to Mueller, replacing HTTP links with HTTPS links is now “always” worth doing. Fortunately, other commenters noted that replacing HTTP links with HTTPS links is straightforward. Here is Mueller’s advice on how to do so.
Instead of using internal HTTP links, use HTTP versions.
According to Mueller, there are two reasons to replace old HTTP internal links. First, having a bunch of redirects is messy, whereas you have complete control over the URLs to which visitors are sent if they follow an external link.
“It’s always worth trying to fix internal links, as it keeps things clean and under your control. However, I don’t think it would have any visible effect.”
Mueller says replacing HTTP internal links won’t affect search rankings, but it’s still worth doing. Why?
Links redirecting to HTTPS rather than the HTTP version can positively influence webpage performance. Visitors who click on a redirected link are forced to take the HTTP route first. Removing the extraneous ‘hop’ means visitors can get to the content more quickly.
Furthermore, using redirects for internal links is a fool’s mission. If a site loads pictures with HTTP URLs, browsers might warn visitors that the site isn’t secure, driving them away. Redirect chains, redirect loops, and broken links are just a few things that can go awry.
Every redirect counts as a page crawled, so redirects eat up your crawl budget. Google may crawl more pages per session if the redirects are removed.
Redirects may fail or be deleted as links get replaced, ensuring their permanence. However, you cannot depend on redirects to stay active forever. Here is some information about mass replacing internal links.
Read Next: Domain vs. URL; What’s the Difference?
Changing All Internal Links
Replacing internal links can be as simple as performing a find and replace in the database, provided your site is built in a certain way. Replacing every reference to an HTTP URL with the HTTP equivalent is as simple as performing a find and replace in the database.
Having a WordPress website, you can employ plugins such as Better Search Replace to accomplish this task. However, if you are uncomfortable with making significant alterations like this, I suggest discussing it with your developer first.
It is important to keep a backup of your site so you can revert to it in case of mass-scale changes, as there is always a risk that your site will break.
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