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Www.domain.com Vs Domain.com


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7 replies to this topic

#1 JayMcDonald

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 04:59 PM

I have read different things about choosing to use either www.domain.com or domain.com, and then setting up a 301 in the .htaccess to enforce it on the site. I have sites where I set up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and they are kind of higgledy-piggeldy. The site has no redirect, the GA account points to www.domain.com, and the Webmaster Tools act points to domain.com. How do I get this untangled without losing data, and is my existing analytics data messed up now?

#2 Jill

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:59 PM

Redirect via 301 one version to the other and set it the same in GWMT

#3 JayMcDonald

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 01:19 PM

What happens with GA in that mix - doesn't it need re-pointing? Will I have any problems with existing GA data being lost?

#4 Jill

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 05:08 PM

Your Google Analytics data will continue to provide you with information from whatever domain has the GA code installed. I can't think of anything that would change there, unless you have something specific you're wondering about?

#5 JayMcDonald

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 04:58 PM

Forgive my cluelessness here. I have always just set up GA for clients because they wanted it. The detailed functioning of and interrelationships between these things are still opaque to me. I'm just trying to be careful that I don't make changes that cause a client to lose data.

I have a site which is currently set up with no htaccess redirect, and no preferred domain on GWT. It is configged with two tracking IDs - one for me, and another for the client's account - and my tracking code appears to be tied to the www.domain, and I have no idea how they set theirs up. So I'm trying to sort out what each possible change does, and how they affect each other:


In GWT, the preferred domain seems to have to do only with indexing, and how pagerank is computed from outside links?. It focuses both versions (with and without www) on one choice so that rank is not split between the two? Is that right? So let's say I set this to the no-www version.

Then in the .htaccess change, the URLs will actually rewrite to whatever I set as my preferred URL in there. I'm guessing this forced rewrite would affect the links people post to pages on outside sites by forcing a unified domain in the browser addr window.. so if they go to copy and paste, they get the one I forced in the rewrite. Also, I suppose it could unify spidering results, even if the GWT preferred domain is not set - though if it *is* set, this aspect might be redundant?

And finally, in GA - there is nothing about domain in the tracker code snippet, so it looks like all of that is set in the website profile I have set up inside GA itself. I went in and changed the domain to be sans "www" (on the main GA overview page that shows all of my site profiles, I clicked Edit on the profile I was changing, then on the next page [Profile Settings], I clicked Edit next to "Main Website Profile Information", and changed the Website URL to sans "www.") Oddly, back on the Overview dashboard page (the one with all the site profiles listed) it shows "http://www.domain.com" then the tracking ID in the gray table row, but beneath that it actually shows my domain change: "http://domain.com" in the white row. Why don't these match? If the second one is correct, what does the first (gray table row) being incorrect affect?

And then finally, If I do all of this to go sans www, but the client still has their GA profile in their account with the www still on there... will they just stop seeing the correct data as everything is now redirected to the no www version?

Whew! I feel like I gave a pint of blood now.

#6 Jill

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 05:49 PM

I'm not sure about all the www and non-www stuff that you're talking about in GWMT, however, I would strongly suggest using only one Google Analytics tracking code on the site. You can add additional users so that both you and the client can see the information.

Doing that alone will likely solve your other problems.

#7 JayMcDonald

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:47 AM

Thanks for the feedback, Jill. I don't feel so bad about being confused by this now smile.gif

#8 bsummers

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 01:13 AM

I think what happens with GA is that they fetch the data from the site which has the tracking code regardless if there is a www or non-www.
And with GWT I suggest that you set your preferred domain. We have an issue with our website before when we haven't set the preferred domain in GWT. We have observed that there were some URLs of ours appear to have the www and the others got none. Which actually it caused the confusion on the counting of visitors. Traffic from my website with www is different from non-www. What we did is we just made a redirection of our non-www domain to www (301 redirect).

QUOTE
Oddly, back on the Overview dashboard page (the one with all the site profiles listed) it shows "http://www.domain.com" then the tracking ID in the gray table row, but beneath that it actually shows my domain change: "http://domain.com" in the white row. Why don't these match? If the second one is correct, what does the first (gray table row) being incorrect affect?


The one that is on the white part is the profile name and don't worry about it you may change / edit it any time. But the most important thing is that the tracking code installed on your website is the same with the tracking provided on GWT for your domain.




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