sly : marketing

www vs non-www for SEO

You should display your site as either www or non-www. If you are looking for a way to get your website to the top of Google, you need to decide.

Should your site show as or I’ll admit that, I haven’t thought much about if I should be using www vs non-www for SEO. I didn’t think it mattered. But, it does. It doesn’t matter which one you use, but you need to use either www or non-www.

The reason you need to decide

If you don’t decide, and you end up using both, Google will split the value of your homepage. It will give a score to both www and non-www, and both scores will be fairly low. This will hurt your website.

That’s the reason why you need to use either www or non-www.

www vs non-www – how to do it

In WordPress, in general settings, under settings – general, the version you decide is shown:

www vs non-www for sep

The next thing you need to do is to set it correctly in Google Webmaster Tools. Set your preferred domain. Here’s where you decide www vs non-www, here’s where you tell Google about your decision. You can find this under site settings – preferred domain:

Google Webmaster Tools site settings

Click on Site Settings, and set your preferred domain:

set your preferred domain

Like I said, I didn’t do this at first myself. I thought that Google would just decide for me and that everything would be just fine, and that it didn’t matter if I didn’t decide on www or non-www for SEO. You’ll end up doing the changes in less than 5 minutes.

I have added several videos to describe what is search engine marketing. This is a detailed description about all the things you need to know and what you need to do in order to get a high ranking at the search engines. I also recommend that you read the real power of storytelling – this is where I explain how to use content that’ll make people interested in you.

10 responses to “www vs non-www for SEO”

  1. You are definitely right Jens. This is very important.

    It’s already 2014 and I still work with companies that dont have proper redirects for this. It’s frustrating to see indexed pages with www and non-www. 😀

    Can’t believe why this isn’t part of (at least) web design 101 in many places/countries.

    • Hi Dennis,

      I’m not sure that I should say it’s frustrating, since it’s not that long ago since I discovered this myself 🙂

      I didn’t think about it. To me, it was just something Google (and the other search engines) would handle without me doing anything about it.

  2. Mitesh says:

    Hello Jens..
    your post is really good with easy understanding..

    I want to ask that…

    If a website which can open with and without WWW (means two separate page) and both page have
    different design and different content, and among them one page (non www
    page)use for paid marketing is it hurt ?

    • Hi Mitesh,

      Paid marketing doesn’t hurt, as long as it’s white hat. But, if you are using both www and non-www, your score will basically be divided by 2, 50% to one and 50% to the other (this is the simple explanation, it can be a different number). That’s why we shouldn’t be using both.

  3. Lisa Buben says:

    Hi Jens, I didn’t know the reason behind this one, very interesting. I do remember setting mine up without the www’s.
    I’ll have to double check my webmaster tools too. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Tim Bonner says:

    Hey Jens

    I opted for the non-www version but I’m not sure whether it has any benefit over the www version or not. I pretty sure there isn’t any other than many people still think of www when they remember a website.

    I have a DNS redirect in place so anyone who types in the www version is actually sent to the non-www version. It’s very important to set the preferred domain in Google Webmaster tools though as you say. You don’t want Google to treat them both separately!

    • Hey Tim,

      I am also using the non-www version. And, from what I’ve read, it doesn’t seem to matter if we’re using www or the non-www version. What’s important is that we decide which one we use. Like you said, most people think www when they remember a website though.

  5. I’m not sure about 50% value, but for sure your site will be penalized for duplicated content

  6. I don’t know about the 50% either, I was just using it as an example.

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