Most often when owners access their website, they either just directly type their web link without using www. while others use www.
How do you go about accessing your website?
Regardless, it’s imperative to develop an understanding of a concept which may save you from being penalized by search engines. You may wonder what would that be? Well, when you try to access your website either through www or without it as a prefix, you need to ensure that only a single URL is accessible while the other one is directly redirected.
If this isn’t already done, you are inviting trouble!
If you have a website which is not using redirection, you are eventually and unintentionally, creating a duplicate copy of your website which results in duplicate content – a disastrous recipe for receiving penalties.
Let’s look at an example. For instance, if you type https://example.com into your browser, this link should automatically be redirected to www.example.com and this is how every website should function.
In most scenarios, webmasters either use canonicalization or set 301 redirections to establish their choice of domain. However, this article will guide you about another method through which you can tell Google about your choice of domain.
Nonetheless, if you’re using WordPress, there isn’t a great deal that you need to worry about. But, it’s always advisable to alter these settings at Google Search Console.
Further, if you are uncertain whether you are moving towards the right path or not, here’s what you need to do. Type your website into the browsers search bar with and without www; if both attempts bring you onto the same URL, there isn’t much you need to worry about. On the contrary, if this isn’t happening, you need to immediately take corrective measures to ensure that both the URLs should only redirect to a single URL.
Preferred Domain Setting: What Is It?
Using your understanding, you can clearly make out by reading the name ‘Preferred Domain Setting’ that you can inform Google about the URL which you want to get indexed. There are again two ways going about this as also briefed above.
You can either opt for https://www.example.com or https://example.com. However, if you haven’t taken a decision about your preferred domain style, you are looking down the gun barrel i.e. receiving penalties for content duplication and the probability of this occurring is high.
If you’re still unclear about ‘Preferred Domain’, this is how Google has explained it:
The preferred domain is one which you prefer to be indexed for your website’s pages. For instance, if you wish to index your domain as https://www.preferreddomain.com and Google comes across your websites link which is formatted as https://preferreddomain.com, the link will be treated as https://www.preferreddomain.com. Moreover, your preference shall be taken into account when the URL is displayed within the search results. However, this may be done slightly later for the search engine to reflect the changes within the indexing.
Setting Preferred Domain Through Google Search Console Too: How to Do It?
To be able to set your preferred domain, you need to first stop and verify the ownership of the domain without www and with www. For this purpose, either the verification file can be uploaded offered by Google Search console during the submission of your site or you can use the same meta verification to provide authenticity of the ownership.
Once the verification is successfully done, you will now be required to log in to your site’s dashboard displayed under Google’s search console tool and hit the icon displaying the gear sign on the right and click ‘Site Settings’.
Once you reach this setting, you will now be able to set the desired domain, however, do not forget that you will have to add the non-www and www version of your domain.
If you’re using a WordPress blog, this would be done itself but if not, however, you have established appropriate 301 redirection, you can opt to overlook this step.
For your website to successfully get indexed on Google, you need to ensure that the non-www and www link both are redirected to a single website to avoid any penalties in the future.
Imran is a succcessful freelancer with over 10 years of experience in Internet Marketing, QA and WordPress development. He shares WordPress latest hacks, tips and useful free or paid resources for noobs and experienced WordPress enthusiasts.