To WWW Or Not To WWW
Whether it is better for a website to be published with the WWW preface or without it is a very popular question in the SEO world. People want to know which version their guests are more likely to link to and which one is considered the traditional method. The truth of the matter is that you are going to come across a lot of websites that can be accessed with or without that preface. While both of these URLs look the same, and both of them appear to work the same, search engines actually view these two URLS as completely different sites. According to Matt Cutts, a member of Google’s Search Quality Group, this is a canonical issue.
Why Is This a Problem?
While websites with or without the WWW preface are viewed as the same URL by people who visit these websites, they are actually very different. Now, this makes a lot of website owners and people in general wonder why this is an issue. All of these URL variations go to the same website and all of them work. So, what is the problem with search engines seeing them as more than one website? The issue that arises from this problem is duplicate content.
Despite the fact that all of these URLS go to the same website, the search engines perceive them as separate websites and this creates a problem. All a search engine can see is several different websites that have the exact same content. As a result the search engine will flag your website on each of these URLS as a website that contains duplicate content. This can really hurt your website’s potential for getting a good page ranking on Google regardless of how optimized the content might be.
How Can You Fix The WWW Preface Problem?
This leaves a lot of website owners wondering, how can they solve this issue? In order to solve the issue you have to make it impossible for people to view your website from all of these different URLS. You have to set up a server side 301 redirect to send all of your traffic to the one URL that you want the search engine to pick up. Then, you will not have to worry about your website getting flagged for duplicate content or your visitors not being able to find your website by using or not using the WWW preface.