google webmaster tools www url or not

Posted on 2014-09-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-09-23
Hi There

We re-did a clients' website and took over the hosting of it. In doing so we also took over the webmaster tools. I'll be honest with you, we normally just provide simple websites for small companies (as an add-on service) and tell them that they need to look after the SEO themselves. However, recently we have started to setup/take over their webmaster and analytical tools and perform the basics for them.

Going through the options there is a section called Data Highlighter. In trying to submit a page here it is telling me that the URL is incorrect. and that it requires www to be added to the address. But once I start this, I get a second error saying that we are not the verified user on this address.

The site URL when on the home page is http://website.com. However, when taking over the control of the webmaster tools I got control of http://www.website.com. In the majority of the webmaster tools this does not seem to be an issue. I have also searched on the difference between the two variations and the results say that search engines don't seem to care much. But I'm not sure about this.

I setup the second variation of the URL with webmaster tools and now have both under my control. So my question to you is ...........

Will having the two variations of the URL in my webmaster tools cause a conflict that will decrease any value that I have started to build up?


Will I now need to duplicate everything that I do in one with the other?

Question by:doey
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LVL 58

Accepted Solution

Gary earned 1000 total points
ID: 40296918
In WMT (actually anywhere) www.site.com is not the same site as site.com and search engines do care a lot
One should redirect to the other and that should be used in WMT
LVL 18

Assisted Solution

by:Lucas Bishop
Lucas Bishop earned 1000 total points
ID: 40318411
The two are explicitly different in that:
domain.com is the root domain of the web site
www.domain.com is a sub-domain (www) of the root domain

You don't want to use both of these sites simultaneously, as you could run the risk of an accidental 'duplicate content penalty' in google. Instead, you'll want to choose one as the main website and redirect the other.

For example, I prefer not using the 'www' sub-domain on my web site, because really it's an antiquated acronym for "world wide web". The last time I heard someone say World Wide Web, was when my mom needed help dialing up to aol.  Also, when you tell someone your website address, you generally just say the domain name without prefacing it with double u, double u, double u.

So, if you follow my line of thinking, you'll setup a 301 redirect from the www sub-domain, pointing at your main domain, inside of the .htaccess file on your site:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.(.+)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://%1/$1 [R=301,L]

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LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 40318479
Just because you omit the www when telling someone the website address doesn't mean it's defunct, whilst mostly pointless for most sites as they will sutomatically redirect you, most sites still use the www and even still advertise the fomsin as such
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 40318480
Fomsin means website (using phone)
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Lucas Bishop
ID: 40318661
The large domains you see with www are primarily using it because of having to load balance and not dedicate a single IP to the domain. Unless the domain is in a position to where it does, or will eventually require load balancing, I prefer to deprecate the sub-domain.

Personal preference, but to me the aesthetics of no-www are much better:


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