WWW or Without WWW – Which works better for my website SEO?

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WWW or Without WWW – Which works better for my website SEO?

This is one of the all-time favourite questions among new website owners. While many have already researched and decided to buy a new domain name for the website, most of them are still undecided on whether “to www” or “not to www”?

The quick answer? Search engines such as Google DOES NOT give SEO advantage on whether you’re using www or not.

In fact, Google has said that it all depends on your preference.

 

What is the best practice?

The correct way to tell Google your preference is to go into your Google Search Console.

If you have no idea what Google Search Console is, it’s actually a free tool from Google for tracking your website’s search performance, indexing and optimising the visibility of your website.

I highly recommend you reading the other Free Google Tool for Website to discover all the tools. I’m sure you will learn a lot from that.

Assuming that you have already verified your website in Google Search Console, you are now officially a website owner – congratulations! Here are the steps to configure your new website:

    1. Click Site Setting
      click site setting Google Search Console
    2. Choose the preferences you want
      choose the preferred domain in Google Search Console
    3. You might need to verify ownership of both the www and non-www version of your domain.
      need to create new property to verify preferred domain name in Google Search Console
      As mentioned in Google Search Console: “Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own http://exabytes.digital/. Please verify https://exabytes.digital/.”After that, please follow the instructions and repeat Step 1.

If you need more detailed explanation about preferred domains, check out the official Google Search Console Help page here.

 

WordPress SEO Tips: Yoast Plugin

If you are using WordPress as the content management system (CMS) of your website, it’s a lot easier to set the canonical URL in your site header.

The plugin will have a field to let you insert the URL for the canonical version of the page.

canonical URL in Yoast SEO plugin
By default, we will leave it to empty to follow the permalink/URL of the page.

 

This is important for SEO: HTTPS

When you have already done setting the preferred domain name, do remember to complete the implementation of HTTPS.

Some new webmasters haven’t realised the huge difference between HTTP and HTTPS when it comes to search engine optimization.

In fact, Google has already given a warning that the Chrome browser will display a red “Not Secure” icon for non-HTTPS sites from October 2018 onwards.

red not secure for http websites on Google chrome

 

301 redirect to only 1 format of URL

To make your life easier, depending on the type of server your website is hosted, I would suggest you to redirect your URL into a single format.

For example, when users click from:

  • https://www.exabytes.digital
  • http://exabytes.digital
  • https://exabytes.digital

All of them will be redirected to https://www.exabytes.digital. Again, www or non-www doesn’t really matter apart from being a matter of preference!

 

.htaccess Redirection Script  

If you decided to choose a specific web format version, you can apply the following scripts into your .htaccess file. The script will do 2 things: First, force HTTPS. Next, redirect non-www into www version.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.yourdomainname\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.yourdomainname.com/$1 [L,R=301]

*Warning: Please back up your original .htaccess before doing the update. The script might not work because different websites have different configurations. If you are not sure, please consult with your web developer and back up everything first.

If you website is in Windows Server environment, the above method might not work. Please consult with your web developer or web hosting supplier to help you configure.

 

Still want to know the difference between www and non-www?

In short, the difference is really just a matter of technicality. The ‘www’ acts as a hostname which helps with DNS (domain name system) flexibility. This enables the use of multiple subdomains and restricts cookies.

The non-www domain name or naked domain do not have such technical advantages.

If you need a more technical explanations, feel free to read here Why Use WWW?

Summary

For me, I would choose not to have the www.

Why? This is because the increasing dominance of mobile usage in the future. Doing away with www allows your domain name to be displayed directly on mobile without the possibility of being truncated.

Exabytes Digital mobile search view

This makes it easier for my target audience to remember my domain name for branding purpose.

I hope this blog post will demystify the debate of www or non-www. Both are perfectly fine for SEO, but personally I would prefer non-www.

Cheers!

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