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Google WMT: if sorted by site health, why non-www is always better?

 2:18 pm on Jul 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is this an interface quirk, my sites' specifics or something true about it?

Most of my sites have only "www" canonical URLs and "non-www" 301 redirected to "www". I did register "non-www" in WMT but only so I can pick the "preferred domain" in settings. I think it's a strange way of doing it (as if www.example.com can exist without example.com) but whatever - Google wants it, Google gets it.

Now I look at my list of sites sorted by site health and I see no exceptions to this rule: "non-www" are always higher (better) than "www" and sometimes they are rather far apart, which would mean that "non-www" is much better than "www". That would be the case of course if sorting by site health is implemented correctly.

Are "non-www" inherently better as far as Google is concerned? Are they just getting fewer links which includes fewer bad links or some other difference of this nature?

Anyone has any insight on what this actually means?



 3:54 pm on Jul 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Since everything on the non-www version redirects, you have no crawl errors to speak of there. No 404s, no 500s. So as far as Google is concerned, that site is perfectly healthy and real site has a few problems that you could correct.


 3:58 pm on Jul 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

My sites are sorted in alphabetical order no matter which sorting option I choose. This seems to because none of them have issues. The order for me is







Notice that the subdomains all come after the base domain (in my case they are language subdomains). The fact that non-www comes first may just be a side effect of how Google is doing alphabetical ordering. Your non-www and www domains may be equally healthy but sorted in "Google alphabetical order".


 4:05 pm on Jul 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Its also not clear to me that higher would be healthier. I don't have any unhealthy sites that I can confirm it with, but I would expect that Google would sort the sites that need your attention (the unhealthy ones) at the top when you sort by health.


 4:14 pm on Jul 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Its also not clear to me that higher would be healthier.
I still have a couple of sites that are literally banned by Google (and sporting RR denied notices in WMT) - they tend to gravitate towards the bottom when "By site health" button is pressed (darkened). So, yes, I think higher means healthier.

On the other hand, given that my banned sites are not at the very bottom (in fact, their non-www versions are rather in the middle somewhere), I think it's quite clear that this "health" they are talking about only concerns some technicalities and not overall "site's standing" with Google, so to speak.


 4:44 pm on Jul 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

In your DNS, does your www have a CNAME or an A record?


 4:55 pm on Jul 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

In your DNS, does your www have a CNAME or an A record?


Never thought there to be an option. "A" is for numeric IPs, not sure it would work (Apache, virtual hosts) with IP if it resolves www.example.com->IP instead of www.example.com->example.com->IP.

Honestly, never gave it a thought. What would you recommend?


 5:07 pm on Jul 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

CNAME causes double DNS lookups. Check your non-www record, it should have an A record with your servers IP address. You can delete the CNAME for www and create an A record with that IP address. To be on the safe side, contact your hosting provider. BTW, it might have nothing to do with the site health, but by any chance WMT sorts them based on response time, that might explain it.


 7:16 am on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

If all sites are equally healthy, maybe the secondary sort criteria is alphabetical and this explains what you are seeing?

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