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Picking between using www prefix or not, and reverting this decision

     
1:13 pm on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

I acquired a site around 6-months ago. The site is 5-years old and previously operated correctly with both www.domain.com and domain.com.

My webmaster recently updated the site design and structure and removed www.domain.com (automatically resolving to domain.com).

Google shows the same number of inbound links for link:domain.com and link:www.domain.com, which tells me that the search engines are correctly recognising that everything should be attributed to domain.com.

However, my PR has recently fallen from 4 to 2 (perhaps for other reasons), so I'm not sure if....

1/ Should you really pick one or the other, or just let both exist?
2/ If you need to pick one, which do you choose?
3/ Is there any value to reverting the decision and picking a new version?

Hopefully this will create some interesting debate as I doubt there is a simple answer to this.

Many thanks,
Keith

1:18 pm on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Pick one, redirect the other one with a site-wide 301 redirect.

I chose www.domain.com simply because [site:domain.com -inurl:www] is so useful in showing when indexing goes wrong.

You can still use domain.com in branding and in print media because your redirect will fix it up should anyone type in the URL without the www on it.

10:44 pm on Aug 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I use www as the primary site because a lot of people "know better" when you give them the domain name and add in www anyway! Not so bad for people just typing it in but a nuisance when people put it in links to you.

As g1smd says, 301 the non-www version to the www version. Oh, and tell Google's webmaster tools which one to use. They don't seem to care but it's the look of the thing. :)

7:49 am on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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My initial reaction on buying my first domain was to redirect to non www but as dstiles says so many people "know better". Even if you explicitly tell them to omit the wwww they will still put it in.

There is an added advantage that in textual content the www does highlight the fact that it is a URL.

7:50 am on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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My initial reaction on buying my first domain was to redirect to non www but as dstiles says so many people "know better". Even if you explicitly tell them to omit the wwww they will still put it in.

There is an added advantage that in textual content the www does highlight the fact that it is a URL.

11:53 pm on Aug 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you have the redirect in place, it doesn't matter what people type in; they will always still be able to get to the content.

That's the important point.

It's exactly the same idea as for making sure you get the .com (or whatever you want the main domain to be) as well as all other relevant domains, and then redirect all of those to the one you wish to be indexed.