Google recently announced that forms on web pages over HTTP will be marked as ‘not secure’ in Chrome starting this month. This presents a good opportunity to make the switch to HTTPS and webmasters can take advantage of this switch to implement other SEO improvements.

Moving your website to HTTPS will encourage Googlebot to recrawl most of your URLs. Googlebot has its own mechanism for determining and prioritizing which URLs to recrawl; however, when Googlebot detects a move to HTTPS, it tends to temporarily increase the crawl rate in an attempt to crawl as many URLs as possible within a short time frame. As such, this is a unique, one-time opportunity to improve your overall Kenyan website’s signals in the Google Index.

CRAWL BUDGET

Most websites in Kenya have a certain crawl rate- based on page speed, internal linking, external linking and popularity- and for large websites, this means that it can take a while before Googlebots pick up on new SEO signals.

Due to Googlebot’s own prioritization mechanism, the SEO’s hands can be a bit tied when it comes to making improvements, although optimizations are still certainly possible.

 

ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY

If your website is large and not yet moved to HTTPS, you have a unique opportunity to have your site recrawled, so consider implementing some major SEO improvements right before doing so.

Use the following steps to achieve this:

  1. Perform an SEO audit as soon as possible. Keep in mind that it can take a few weeks to complete an SEO audit.
  2. Have a development team ready to implement the recommendations of the SEO audit without delay.
  3. Test your infrastructure for HTTPS and HTTP/2 (This can be done parallel during the SEO audit).
  4. Once the SEO audit has been completed and the recommendations implemented, then and only then, move your website to HTTPS.

Once moved to HTTPS, Googlebot will recrawl most of your website’s URLs, which at this stage will have improved SEO signals.

 

HOW ABOUT THE ‘NOT SECURE’ WARNING AFTER OCTOBER?

It is a possibility that even after taking the steps above, your website may still show the “not secure” warning on form web pages in Chrome for a while, especially if it takes a long time to complete your SEO audit and implement the recommended changes. However, your website will not be the only one.

Instead, plan to complete the steps recommended above within the next few months and your Kenyan website will reap the benefits from moving to HTTPS.

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Written by Mutari Diawara