Today is SEO Monday and I’m your presenter, Lauren. Today we’ll be discussing choosing the www. version versus non-www. version of your website. We often receive the question, “Should I use http://mysite.com or http://www.mysite.com?” or “What’s the difference?”
- The www. And non www. Version of the site are not the same in the perspective of the search engines – this means that if one version is not redirecting to the other, it could potentially lead to duplicate content issues.
- The search engines will only index one version or the other of the pages, because of this fact, we need to make sure that there is no confusion
- If inbound links are pointing at one version or the other, the “link juice” will only be counted toward the respective version. So for example if five websites are linking to www.mysite.com and five websites are linking to mysite.com, in the end those five links each will only be attributed to the respective domains rather than ten links collectively
So, which one do I choose?
First, you need to find out how the search engines are indexing the site. To do this, open a browser and type in: site:mysite.com. I’ve used crateandbarrel.com as an example. As you can see, Google has indexed mostly www. versions of the site.
Secondly, you’ll want to double check inbound link counts.
- Utilize Yahoo! site explorer to get a relative idea of how many inbound links are coming into each version of the site. The web address is https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com
- Type in one version of the URL and hit “Explore URL”. In this example I have used the www. Version. Yahoo! site explorer reports 137,002 links for the www. version. When I check the non-www. version, Yahoo! Site Explorer shows only 7,687 inbound links. Clearly if we needed to choose one over the other, the www. version is most appropriate.
It doesn’t stop at www. vs. non-www.
You may actually have other versions of the site lurking as files or subdomains. For example: www.mysite.com/index.html, www.mysite.com/default.html, or especially if you are a Yahoo! store, store.mysite.com. You can check your root files or experiment by typing these variations in.
I know you’re probably wondering at this point, HOW DO I FIX THIS?
In the next step, you will be redirecting all domains to the one version that you’ve chosen: either www.mysite.com or mysite.com. Today I will be covering Yahoo! Stores since it’s very easy to forward/redirect the domain. If you do not have a Yahoo! Store, check with your web host for assistance with redirecting one version to the other. Most folks already have a redirect set to their primary domain, but if you do not, here are the steps for Yahoo! Store owners:
- Log into your Store manager and click on the “Domain Names” link under Site Settings on the right hand side
- Once you’re in the “Domain Names” section you’ll see a list of hostnames – the number listed will vary depending on how many domains you have hosted. Below the list is a check box that reads, “Redirect all host names to my domain.” It will show you the current domain to which all domains are being redirected to (if any). If you’d like to choose the www. version of the site, simply click on the drop down button and choose www.mysite.com, click on the check box, and hit “Set Redirect”, In most cases it will be reset almost instantly, in other cases you’ll need to give it a few hours.
If you are still unsure of the version of your domain you should be using, we’ll review this and much for you during a FREE SEO Audit for your website. Call us today and get signed up! Stick around for an exciting PPC Tuesday!