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www, non-www & subdomains!

1:30 pm on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Okay, my main www domain has pagerank of 5, the same pagerank as it's non-www counterpart.

Most websites that link to me link to www. Utilizing the google site command however, the www returns 40,000, while the non-www returns 20,000 results.

Several months ago I changed my SEO strategy on pages that ranked very well to 'subdomains', for the purpose of better site organization and future optimization...thinking it was the better strategic move. Of course I 301'd the old domains to the new sub-domains

These subdomains appeared to be doing well, a few at a time appearing to inherit the 301 and rank where I expected them too. However, since last Friday everything appears to be dropping off the map, and I'm not sure how to react.

Basically, I'm trying to determine if the www and non-www are talking to each other correctly, and I'm also trying to determine if I made a mistake switching to the subdomains in terms of the best utilization of site strength. Can anybody offer experienced-based advice here. Thanks.

12:03 am on July 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The best practice is not to wonder but to be sure, by 301 redirecting every request to that form (assuming that the content is always the same, with or without the "www".) Unless you do that, you are always open to ranking troubles from time to time. See this discussion:

Why "www" & "no-www" Are Different [webmasterworld.com] - the canonical root issue

Here's a second possible issue - independent of the canoncial root question. By moving a lot of urls to subdomains (and removing them from the base domain) you also may have affected PR circulation through all your pages.

[edited by: tedster at 3:48 pm (utc) on July 21, 2007]

12:34 am on July 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Making the site.com redirect to www.site.com is a good move in the long run and it sounds you are looking at a long term goal and this can only help in the long run for a site that "grows large" in the long run. In my experience... Smaller sites seem to get same PR with both site.com and www.site.com when it becomes popular as a niche with quality in-bounds links that point to you as, "site.com OR www.site.com" Google can figure it out for you.

When you change pages from your main site domain and put them in a sub-domain is when you get hit hard. Basically you took your best performing pages from YOUR domain and moved them off to a new "sub" domain to get respect from Google all over again.

9:27 am on July 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In Google Webmaster account, there is a option to set your preferred domain i.e. www or non www.

Preferred domain as said by Google

The preferred domain is the one that you would liked used to index your site's pages (sometimes this is referred to as the canonical domain). Links may point to your site using both the www and non-www versions of the URL (for instance, http://www.example.com and http://example.com). The preferred domain is the version that you want used for your site in the search results.

Once you tell us your preferred domain name, it may help us determine PageRank for your site more accurately.

3:23 pm on July 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Setting the "preferred domain" seemed to do the business for me.
7:00 pm on July 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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That's only a band-aid on the real problem, and it only affects what Google shows, not other SEs.

You really do need to have the 301 redirect too. That fixes the site for all visitors and all search engines.

That is, if someone views your site as non-www, then when they decide to link to you, they may link to non-www. Other people may link to www, and you have a problem. If you install the redirect, their browser will always show www in the URL, and the chances of anyone linking to non-www declines very rapidly.