How much does it matter if domain has www. or not

JimFranco

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
109
I have my domain set to www but I checked my domain without the www. and it shows many more links without it.

How much does this matter, does this matter anymore ? what should I do .

can someone do a ahref and give an opinion for my site Mighty Clean Home House Cleaning Service Roswell Atlanta and if I should do with our without the www. as default. Kinda lost
 

heckler

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
287
It really doesn't matter which you choose. The thing you need to be careful with is making sure you're consistent as google views www/non-www versions as different websites.

It's not a HUGE problem, but you should make sure you're forwarding one to the other (which ever one you decide you're going to roll with) and just make sure any links you create are pointing at the version you decided on, otherwise you'll be losing some PR by pushing traffic through the redirect.

It matters in that you're not getting as much juice from your links as you could be.
 

JimFranco

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
109
I have a lot more links pointing to not www than to www.
but my site is set up to www. I should change this right ?
 

djbaxter

Administrator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
2,732
I have a lot more links pointing to not www than to www.
but my site is set up to www. I should change this right ?
No, my advice would be to make sure you list both with Google Analytics, then use your Dashboard to tell Google to use the www version, and then, as suggested above, make sure you redirect all calls for domain.com to www.domain.com using your .htaccess file by preference.

See How to 301 Redirect Non-WWW to WWW URLs |?|?StepForth Web Marketing Inc. for how to do this. Depending on your server type:


Note: do not use the method from those links if you are using subdomains (i.e., blog.domain.com).

The code for Apache (.htaccess) is:

Code:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]
Substitute your domain for example.com.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
Thanks David! Was hoping you'd weigh in because you are more on the tech side than I am.

I would keep the www from a user and marketing perspective.

WHY? A lot of people automatically add www to everything. So with social mentions and word of mouth, often people will link to the www version out of habit. But if you don't use the www version, even though you have redirects set up so the customer will get to you, the initial click goes to the wrong version.
 

DanLeibson

Member
Joined
May 17, 2013
Messages
216
301 redirects decrease link equity, so if literally everything else is equal you should use the non-www and 301 redirect all www versions to non-www versions. Just my 2 cents.
 

djbaxter

Administrator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
2,732
301 redirects decrease link equity, so if literally everything else is equal you should use the non-www and 301 redirect all www versions to non-www versions. Just my 2 cents.
The effect on link juice is minimal and theoretical. And what you gain from redirecting all to one version of the URL more than makes up for it.

You probably lose more from internal site links.

But you are correct in that whether you choose the www or non-www version comes down to a matter of preference.

If you prefer the non-www version use this instead of what is posted in the links in my earlier post:

Code:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^mydomain.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^/?(.*)$ http://mydomain.com/$1 [L,R=301]
Substitute your own domain for the lines where you see mydomain.com.
 

DanLeibson

Member
Joined
May 17, 2013
Messages
216
Having tested at scale I am convinced it's more then minimal and definitely not theoretical but of course YMMV. Agree with internal links, but again my comment was "everything else being equal"
 

Conor Treacy

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2014
Messages
123
Just to add here regarding users that have subdomains, you can still do the 301 redirect for the www/non-www and then exclude the subdomains from the rule. Here's how the code would look in your .htaccess file:

Code:
RewriteEngine On 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^(.*)\.yourdomain\.com$ [NC] 
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
Save those changes, and you should now see redirects from non-www to www without looping and without losing your url structure.

If you wanted to redirect the domain EXCEPT for a certain folder, you can use the following;

Code:
RewriteEngine On 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^(.*)\.yourdomain\.com$ [NC] 
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI}!/blog$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
In the above example, the folder that we are NOT wanting to redirect is the "/blog" folder.
 

Laustin1878

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2012
Messages
419
No, my advice would be to make sure you list both with Google Analytics, then use your Dashboard to tell Google to use the www version, and then, as suggested above, make sure you redirect all calls for domain.com to www.domain.com using your .htaccess file by preference.

See How to 301 Redirect Non-WWW to WWW URLs |?|?StepForth Web Marketing Inc. for how to do this. Depending on your server type:


Note: do not use the method from those links if you are using subdomains (i.e., blog.domain.com).

The code for Apache (.htaccess) is:

Code:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]
Substitute your domain for example.com.
Just curious, the OP stated that he has more links pointing to the non www version of the website. What is the reasoning behind advising the OP to choose the www version (the one with less links pointing to it) over the non www version which appears to have a better (well, at least more links) link profile? Wouldn't it make sense to utilize what the OP is identifying as a better version of the domain in question and 301 the www to the non www? Or am I missing something....?

On a slightly separate note, QUALITY should supersede QUANTITY. If your www version has better QUALITY links then the non www, it make be wiser to follow the above advice and use the current domain and redirect the non www to the www version. I did not look at your link profile but you may want to look into this prior to changing anything.
 

djbaxter

Administrator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
2,732
All good points.

As Linda said, there is still a tendency for people to type in www when going directly to a site and that's why as a rule I personally redirect to the www version.

However, redirecting to the non-www version would make sense if that's where the majority of your links and/or the best links are coming from.

Beyond that, it's a matter of personal preference. The main thing is to ensure that both www and non-www versions end up at the same place and that search engines can easily determine that both versions are the same place.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

heckler

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
287
Yeah Google does a good job of 'figuring it out', but BING on the other hand...
 

Laustin1878

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2012
Messages
419
Fully agree with you djbaxter about preference. I usually opt for the www version myself, when all things are equal. As you and Linda said, it's more household. It is definitely important to select one and forward the other though. I see it happen far too often where there is no redirect from one version to the other.
 

seoexpert

Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
2
Basically, launch the website one version which has the maximum backlinks to and set it as the preferred version. Further ensure that the other version is 301 redirected to the preferred version. There is no other problem at all be it either versions as long as this is taken care of.

cheers
Josh
 

KristiHines

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2015
Messages
3
I prefer using the non-www version of my website URL to make it shorter. All I do for search engines is use Google Webmaster Tools (now Search Console) Site Settings to tell Google which one is the preferred domain.
 

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