There has been a lot of chatter about a possible Google update happening late Friday and over the weekend. However, while there were two UK link networks that were penalized, it is unclear if there was actually an update or if it is fallout from the panic SSL switches that many websites are in the midst of changing to SSL.
When Google announced that websites would have a ranking boost for utilizing SSL, there seemed to be a mad rush of websites scrambling to switch over to HTTPS. But along with the switchover, some companies were running into technical difficulties, the largest one being the insecure warnings that are popping up in web browsers when someone tries to visit a site.
There are many sites running into this issue. It isn’t just smaller sites that are having issues… The Guardian is also one.
And the warning is just as dire for Firefox users.
The issue is usually caused when there is a mismatch between the URL the certificate is issued for and the URL the person tries to visit – this can happen even for canonical issues, where the certificate is for www.example.com and someone tries to visit example.com. Some certificates can be issues with both variations, as well as the server IP address, to try and prevent these issues from occurring.
Google Webmaster Tools is also noticing the problems and is sending out crawl error emails to those who are affected by certificate problems, so this is definitely going to have an impact on the search results.
There is something definitely going on in the search results, and a couple people reported that some penalties were lifted. And Mozcast is also showing changes.
But how much is truly an update and how much is a result if poor SSL implementation?
“I haven’t really seen much change in the sites that I monitor,” says Marie Haynes of HIS Web Marketing. “There is possibly a slight decrease in one site that has seen multiple increases with Panda refreshes since the May 20th Panda 4.0 update. And again, possibly a slight increase in traffic for one site that has been working on fixing Panda issues. But, there really is nothing conclusive. I have seen no change in sites that are waiting for a Penguin refresh.”
I also reached out to Google but they responded they have no comment.
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So yeah, this untrackable link network wasn’t so untrackable after all. I lost 5 sites to what I assume is this, but thank god they were throwaway with $5 articles from India and not my real money makers.
Lucky for them I guess with Matt Cutts on break, he won’t out which network it was, but yeah, sucks for me. I won’t use them again if they come up with something even more (gasp) untrackable.
How did Google not plan for the mad rush of EVERYONE (and their freakin dog) switching over in a short period and think about the issues. I am stuck in SSL nightmare on 3 different clients. I am only their SEO and their IT or web host did the SSL certificates, but now I am looking terrible since we are losing traffic and rankings and it is not even my fault.
And their guidelines could have been a bit more descriptive, I think the IT guy for one client read an ehow article on how to switch a site to SSL.