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www vs. non www

Discussion in 'Google Sitemaps' started by tyankee, May 28, 2012.

  1. #1
    i am having all kinds of problems figuring out which version of my website to use with google webmaster tools.. the www version or the non-www..

    i'm getting errors on the non-www version saying it 'Site violates Google's quality guidelines'.. even though the www version, also on webmaster tools, doesn't get that error..

    i am worried that this is causing duplicate content as my site was ranked #1 for 6 years and recently dropped to the second page..

    i have both the www and non-www set to the preferred domain of www.mustangtraderonline.com..

    and which site should be linking to Analytics - the non-www or the www or both??

    and what about 'canonical' URL's... should i have set up canonical URL's in the head section of my pages?

    the sitemap shows www version of pages..

    thanks for any and all help..
    SEMrush
     
    tyankee, May 28, 2012 IP
    SEMrush
  2. tonysafescaffolding

    tonysafescaffolding Peon

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    #2
    I don't think you should have both www and non-www. From and SEO point of view you want all your one url. google bot will see www. yourhostname.com and yourhostname. com as two different sites and you have some link going to one and some links going to another then your splitting your links juice. What I do is pick one and have all my link going to that and then I have a 301 redirect in my .htaccess file from the name I do not wish to use to my preferred name.
    Works for me
     
    tonysafescaffolding, May 29, 2012 IP
  3. Wulkanen

    Wulkanen Well-Known Member

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    #3
    Yup, he's right.

    You should NEVER use both since it will damage your SEO work due to Google looking at them as 2 different websites.
    Redirect one of them. i always use the www version, but it's up to you what to choose.
     
    Wulkanen, May 29, 2012 IP
  4. tyankee

    tyankee Well-Known Member

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    #4
    i agree with both of you BUT since this is an older domain (7 years), some links point to the non-www site and most point to the www point.. i already have the redirect in the htaccess but what do i do about the backlinks?? also, should i have both sites listed in google webmaster tools or should i take the one i won't be using down?? should i remove it from the list of sites??
     
    tyankee, May 29, 2012 IP
  5. Wulkanen

    Wulkanen Well-Known Member

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    #5
    I don't know what you mean.
    If you're redirecting one of them it doesn't matter where the backlinks go because they will be redirected to
    the one you chose and all link-juice will follow through.

    You should only list the on you're using in google's webmaster tools.
     
    Wulkanen, May 29, 2012 IP
  6. tyankee

    tyankee Well-Known Member

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    #6
    thanks - i didn't know that the backlinks would get follow and the link juice would follow..
     
    tyankee, May 29, 2012 IP
  7. Synastute

    Synastute Greenhorn

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    #7
    You should never use both www and non-www URL's. It will harm the SEO of any one site. It is better to use only one and point all the links to that one site only. It is more beneficial when it comes to the SEO. Google bot will see the www and non-www sites separately so its always better to go with one type of URL.
     
    Synastute, May 30, 2012 IP
  8. oliversmith

    oliversmith Peon

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    #8
    You should use only www Url, non-www url and www url, google read two url.
     
    oliversmith, May 30, 2012 IP
  9. ryan_uk

    ryan_uk Illustrious Member

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    #9
    It will flow, but degrades slightly, but not significantly enough to matter. For your canonical, have it as one of the first entries in the head tag. Make sure your head tag area is generally "clean" (no broken HTML in there or irrelevant tags). Otherwise, Google can take it as a signal that something is wrong and not trust it. However, you don't really seem to need it unless you're going to be using URL parameters for tracking purposes (for example) for a particular page. E.g. example.com/example-product.php?ref=facebook to track all the referrals from Facebook, but you want a search engine to know that url is the same as example.com/example-product.php.
     
    ryan_uk, May 30, 2012 IP
  10. tyankee

    tyankee Well-Known Member

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    #10

    when you say 'head tag area' - i'm ssuming that if i put the coding into my htaccess file to redirect to one of these, that is the same thing???
     
    tyankee, May 30, 2012 IP
  11. ryan_uk

    ryan_uk Illustrious Member

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    #11
    Well, for .htaccess, that's where you would do the 301. Canonical is different (it's for search engines, to tell them - just use this URL and ignore parameters, for example).

    So for the 301, in .hatccess, it would be something like:

    <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^mustangtraderonline\.com$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.mustangtraderonline.com/$1 [L,R=301]
    </IfModule>
    Code (markup):
    This would go before other rewrite rules.

    The canonical would be place in the HTML source (within the HEAD area):

    <head>
    <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.mustangtraderonline.com" />
    </head>
    HTML:
    But you only need this if there's a page you want Google to see as the same, rather than individual instances. For example, you're running campaigns for a new product and linking with www.mustangtraderonline.com/?ref=facebook, www.mustangtraderonline.com/?ref=twitter, etc. These are unique URLs, but if you use the above rel=canonical then Google will recognise that they are all for your home page. So, you only need to use this if you've got some pages using parameters like that and it's causing duplicate content.
     
    ryan_uk, May 30, 2012 IP
  12. tyankee

    tyankee Well-Known Member

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    #12

    thanks for the reply.. yes that is the coding i put in htaccess.. but i'm still confused about the canonical in the head section.. if i put the generic canonical that you outlined above, won't google look at ALL pages of my website as http://www.mustangtraderonline.com. i guess i didn't understand the example above...

    thanks..
     
    tyankee, May 30, 2012 IP
  13. ryan_uk

    ryan_uk Illustrious Member

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    #13
    I should have probably explained better: each page would have its own, e.g.

    http://www.mustangtraderonline.com/7-gt-and-gta/1/listings.html
    HTML:
    would have:

    <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.mustangtraderonline.com/7-gt-and-gta/1/listings.html" />
    HTML:
     
    ryan_uk, May 30, 2012 IP
  14. tyankee

    tyankee Well-Known Member

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    #14
    thanks, that what i thought.. unfortunately the script for this website is pretty complicated and i'm not sure this can even be done..
     
    tyankee, May 30, 2012 IP
  15. ryan_uk

    ryan_uk Illustrious Member

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    #15
    I wouldn't worry about it, mate. As long as you're able to do the 301 then a canonical won't be needed for this particular issue.

    What I would say is, now you've authenticated www.mustangtraderonline.com and mustangtraderonline.com in Google Webmaster Tools, you can remove the the non-www. (The authentication and setting to www.mustangtraderonline.com will remain.) Any messages will just go to the one entry now.
     
    ryan_uk, May 30, 2012 IP
  16. websitetools

    websitetools Well-Known Member

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    #16
    Just to repeat what others have said: Setup 301 permanent redirect and you are done. (By far most link juice is preserved)

    You may also want to look into if you have other URL duplication issues like example.com/dir/ and example.com/dir/index.html and solve them the same way. (HTTP 301 redirect if possible or, as fallback, use canonical)
     
    websitetools, May 31, 2012 IP
  17. tyankee

    tyankee Well-Known Member

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    #17
    got a new problem now with http://rvssale.net. it's a wordpress site and i set it up in settings to be without the www and the non-www site looks good.. but the www.rvssale.net site doesn't redirect to rvssale.net - even though after doing this for some of my other sites, they automatically redirected. so i added the following code in the htacces file:

    RewriteEngine On
    rewritecond %{http_host} ^www.rvssale.net [nc]
    rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://rvssale.net/$1 [r=301,nc]

    but this get a '500' error when you tried to access www.rvssale.net and said the site had moved but didn't do the redirect.. i took out the this coding for now.. how do i get rid of the www site now??

    am i missing something?
     
    tyankee, May 31, 2012 IP