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WWW vs. non-WWW problem -- I'm confused and scared.

 3:22 am on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've got a few Godaddy Website Builder 7 sites.

In woorank it says my sites are duplicate content because I haven't chosen whether to redirect to "www" or non "www". There is no option to do that in the builder like there was in the previous version.

I called Godaddy and they said that NO, it IS redirecting, but honestly I don't think they understood what I was talking about.

In Webmaster Tools you can choose the www or non-www option.

The problem is this: while I have more "www" links out there, I have a lot of NON WWW backlinks, too.

If I choose the "www" option, will that put those non-www backlinks at risk? Could I lose ranking? Could it just MESS everything up?

Or... could it improve things in the eyes of G?



 4:20 am on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Try visiting your domain with and without the www and see if it does redirect. Choose the one that it redirects to. If it does not redirect to one or the other and both are accessible, then yes, you have duplicate content and need to see how your host will help it go to one or the other.

It won't matter if you have both versions as links as long as they do redirect to one version.


 4:24 am on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I just changed everything in Webmaster Tools. It's not showing up yet.

All the Godaddy Version 6 sites I have DO redirect and they always have, so that's working.

The new version 7 sites never redirected. Now I've changed it in the Tools, so I HOPE that works.

I also added Geotargeting to the United States on a bunch of websites that didn't have it -- I think that's going to help TREMENDOUSLY. I can't believe I didn't have that set! No wonder sites that are ranking so high were delivering people from lower positions in the SERPS. I couldn't figure out why. I HOPE THAT IS THE REASON!


 5:21 am on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Got the feeling this is something I should already know the answer to, but... what's with the pushbuttons and tools and builders and versions? Put the redirect in your own individual htaccess and there will be no question about it. Or, ahem, equivalent in That Other Server.* Anything you leave up to your host-- any host-- will be second-best and approximate.

* Is godaddy the one that changed recently, so which server you're on depends purely on how long you've had the site? I was reading up on this not long ago but can no longer lay my hands on the details.


 8:33 am on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm going to go out on a limb and say you really don't need to do anything about it. If you are concerned about Google, I believe you can define your preference in WMT.

Other sites will link how they want, it might include www or not. If a search engine can't figure out that example.com and www.example.com are effectively the same site then search is in a much worse state than even I'd believe.


 11:20 am on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm going to go out on a limb and say you really don't need to do anything about it.

Yup, better to be in control of what's going on and canonicalize the two if you can, but is it absolutely necessary? No, not any more.

-- You can set the preferred version in WMT.

-- You can put the preferred version in an XML Sitemap while omitting the non-preferred version and Google will take it as a strong indication of the canonical.

-- You can put a rel=canonical on the pages indicating the preferred version.

-- You can likely just leave it alone, especially if you always link to the "preferred version" internally, since Google "lumps together" duplicate URLs and picks one to count/use as "the canonical" unless they know to do otherwise and Bing doesn't index the same content twice, so you're covered with somewhere around 90% of all US searches without doing anything at all.


 2:47 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)


I would appreciate if you could help me out with these questions. A friend of mine is currently using Version 6 and would like to know about the following before he changes to Version 7:

For Version 7, is WMT offered with the hosting account the way that it is with Version 6?

Also, if you type the non-WWW version of the domain in your browser's address bar, does it redirect to the WWW version?


 9:57 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Put the redirect in your own individual htaccess and there will be no question about it.

Lucy has the best answer. Dose not matter which one you redirect to www or no www but it needs to be done.


 10:22 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

but it needs to be done.

FYP -- It's best to do it, but it doesn't *need* to be done any more.

I've seen plenty of sites rank well with both www and non-www available for some fairly to highly competitive terms. -- How competitive they are is subject to your definition of degees of competitiveness of course. Just think $25+ a click for AdWords to be close to the top for some of the 4 word phrases and you'll have a guess at the level of competition that might be generated.


 11:05 pm on Mar 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

JD_Toims thanks for reminding me why I decided not to post on this forum anymore, I appreciate the wake up, my mistake.


 12:07 am on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Dose not matter which one you redirect to www or no www...

Actually, if someone wants to get the most speed they can, it does matter -- Anything requiring cookies should be served from the www and anything not requiring cookies should be served from non-www, because a www cookie can be limited to www rather than being sent and checked unnecessarily for requests that do not require them if they're served from the non-www hostname -- Things such as javascript, css, and in many cases images, can be served without a cookie being necessary to access them and a non-www cookie will always be sent to the www hostname, but a www cookie can be limited to the www hostname.

Internet connections are optimized for down-stream speed to make them seem faster, so the more up-stream bandwidth required for users by making requests and sending unnecessary cookies for every request, the slower the site will be. A simple "smart split" between non-www and www will not only help keep down the upstream requests, but will also force browsers to open another set of connections [most default to two per host name], so by splitting things intelligently, someone can gain speed by not only limiting upstream cookie sends, but also by forcing a browser to open 2 extra connections to load any give page on the site.

[edited by: JD_Toims at 12:29 am (utc) on Mar 12, 2014]

brotherhood of LAN

 12:09 am on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure what jd_toims posted for you to stop participating in the forum breeks, I assume "FYP" means "fixed your post"


 12:24 am on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yeah, that was what I meant -- I wasn't trying to "start anything" and probably should have left it off, because I was really simply trying to correct the inaccurate information about *needing* to do a 301 these days.

Google's more advanced than it was in the days when it was definitely a necessity to 301 canonicalize, so "yesterday" it was necessary [much like keyword meta tags], but today they've got such a good handle on things as far as www and non-www go and offer enough alternatives to a 301, it really isn't needed.

Is it still a best practice, imo? Sure, especially if done as I stated above, but necessary or needed? No, not any more.


 8:05 pm on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

And yet, in another thread running today, others are reporting incidences of Google not being able to tell that they shouldn't index https when it's the same as http - [webmasterworld.com...]


 8:13 pm on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think it's necessary.

brotherhood of LAN

 8:18 pm on Mar 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Necessary to remove all doubt, for me. Not doing it leaves the possibility of confusion.

Doing it for new or existing sites helps avoid future links pointing to the alternate version.


 12:51 am on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

If you set your preferred domain as http://example.com, we'll treat links to http://www.example.com exactly the same as links to your preferred domain.

[support.google.com ]

Nothing wrong with using a redirect, I still have them in place on some sites. Just not essential anymore, in my opinion.

[edited by: phranque at 7:47 am (utc) on Mar 13, 2014]
[edit reason] fixed link [/edit]


 7:41 am on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

you should consider that when you "let google sort it out", whether by link rel canonical (a mere suggestion) or GWT configuration or otherwise, you are depending on google to make a reference to something other than the url served to properly index the content.
if you 301 redirect to the canonical url then there is no ambiguity, no decision-making, no delays, nor algorithmic effects.


 8:07 am on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Point taken phranque, but if you are looking for position in the Google SERPs, then you depend on Google to properly sort it all out.

I have no argument with those who want to include redirects on sites.


 10:28 pm on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Who in their right mind would want "www." in their address, when they don't need it?

The redirect direction is obvious, IMO.


 10:33 pm on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Who in their right mind would want "www." in their address, when they don't need it?

Someone who wants more speed by eliminating the need for cookies that are unnecessary to be sent upstream and also wants to force a browser to open more connections to a site so it loads faster.


 11:10 pm on Mar 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Who in their right mind would want "www." in their address, when they don't need it?

Someone who's been using it for fifteen years, ranks fine with it, includes it on all their paperwork, invoices, panel trucks, etc etc. That's who.

New domains, I tend to leave it off, but if dealing with an existing site that's been around a while, and marketed that way, I leave it.


 5:32 am on Mar 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

Symmetry, balance, aesthetics. I currently have five registered domains. Two have long names (four-word phrases); they're example.com. The other three have shorter names (two-word phrases); they're www.example.com.

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